The Hebrew Orphan Asylum Band of New York City, 1874-1941: Community, Culture and Opportunity
The Hebrew Orphan Asylum Band of New York City, 1874–1941 is at the same time the story of a boys’ band and a story of New York City. The band was not only an important educational component of one of the largest Jewish charitable organizations of its time, but also a significant source of music-making and performance in New York. What made the band especially noteworthy was the reputation it developed performing outside of New York’s many concert halls and major musical institutions. The band was ever-present, participating in events ranging from conventional parades to building ground-breakings to celebrations of major figures in New York history.
The band was always ready to perform and to be part of New York cultural life. In doing so, they typified the Jewish-American experience of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and illustrated the substantial effort of those that engage in community music-making and the critical role school music played in the lives of its participants and local community. These are the unknown musicians without whom New York’s musical life would have certainly been diminished. As this history explores their numerous performances, successes, and activities, historical events in New York, some lesser known than others, some humorous, some dark, are described in rich detail as well. The legacy of the band – the careers the boys had as they matured and the contributions they and their band directors made during their lives – is also explored in this fascinating history.
Dr Carol L. Shansky is Assistant Professor of Fine and Performing Arts at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, USA, where she has developed and teaches a broad range of courses in music and is the Director of the Iona College Instrumental Ensemble. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Boston University and her Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College. Dr. Shansky is a contributor to the Journal of Research in Musicology, Alta Musica, Journal of the International Alliance of Women Musicians, and RIME (USA, online), and has presented papers at numerous national and international conferences. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Research in Music Performance, and is a member of the Pedagogy Committee of the New Jersey Flute Society. In addition, Dr. Shansky is an active performer in the New York City area, performing in several orchestras and as chamber musician and solo recitalist. Her music appreciation textbook Musical Tapestries: A Thematic Approach to Music Appreciation is in its 2nd edition.
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