Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Fox Sisters Orchestra

For the first twenty years of the twentieth century, the Fox Sisters Orchestra provided musical entertainment for Sandusky area events. Pictured are:
Back row: Renata Fox Rheinhardt, Thelca Fox Herbert, Mrs. H. G. Fox, Marcella Fox Mayer
Front row: Coletta Fox, Sylvani Fox Erney and Olivia Fox

Mrs. Helen Bonn Fox was born in Trippstadt, Germany and came to the U.S. when she was four years old. Her husband Henry G. Fox was a dry goods merchant in Sandusky. The couple had a very large family, but Renata, Thelca, Marcella, Coletta, Sylvani, and Olivia were the family members most involved in music. The Fox Sisters Orchestra played at church and hospital charity events, high school commencements, and provided entertainment when Sarah Bernhardt was the featured actress in the 1912 motion picture “Queen Elizabeth.” During the Spring of 1904, the Fox Sisters gave free concerts at Sandusky’s Big Store.

According to her 1943 obituary, which is found in the 1943 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library, Mrs. Helen Bonn Fox taught music for seventy five years. Two of her daughters became nuns. Olivia Fox was Sister Renata, and Angela Fox was Sister Norberta, both with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Miss Coletta Fox, who died on February 10, 1971, taught violin and piano in Sandusky for seventy years. Coletta had also been a member of the Ackley Orchestra.

The Fox Sisters provided local musical entertainment in an era before television, and when radio was in its infancy. They are mentioned in the book The Guitar in America: Victorian Era to Jazz Age, by Jeffrey Noonan. This title is available to borrow through any ClevNet library.

No comments: