Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sandusky's Community Song Book

In April, 1922 the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce published a song book which sold for fifteen cents. Local song leader George W. Wiles wrote in the preface that the intention of community singing was “to inspire good fellowship.” He stated that the real worth of community singing “lies in its power to lift all classes out of sordid and selfish thinking, and to create an atmosphere of courage, good cheer, and receptivity.”

Many patriotic songs were included in the song booklet, as well as traditional songs and regional favorites, such as “Dixie” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Comical songs were also included, in which new lyrics were sung to a well-known tune. For example, “The Old Family Toothbrush” was sung to the tune of “The Old Oaken Bucket.”
George W. Wiles served as the Erie County Treasurer from 1918 through 1923. It was said that during his campaign, he literally “sang himself into office.” During World War One, George was active in leading community singing, and he voice was greatly admired. After leaving office, Mr. Wiles was associated with the Zerbe-Wiles Real Estate Agency. On June 6, 1927, at the age of 45, George W. Wiles took his own life, after becoming despondent over a lingering illness. He was missed greatly by his family and friends. He had been a member of the Elks Lodge, Eagles, Loyal Order of Moose, Independent Order of Foresters, Perseverance Lodge, and the Sandusky Kiwanis Club. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery. An obituary for George W. Wiles is found in the 1927 Obituary Notebook in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

No comments: