Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Entertainment at Biemiller’s Opera House

On the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, most likely in the 1880s or 1890s, a program of entertainment was held at Biemiller’s Opera House in Sandusky, Ohio.

Though the church was not identified, the evening began and closed with selections from a church choir. Judge A.E. Merrill gave the introduction, followed by a lecture on the Land League by Rev. P. F. Quigley, a Catholic priest. Several musical numbers were performed. Mr. Buyer, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Dempsey, and another Mr. Farrell sang a serenade. While we do not know precisely which members of the Dempsey and Farrell families sang the Serenade, Helen Hansen wrote about the William Farrell and Thomas Dempsey in Supplement 13 of At Home in Early Sandusky. Both gentlemen were Irish immigrants, and they lived at 525 and 527 Columbus Avenue for many years.

Immediately before I. F. Mack gave remarks, Miss Kate Farrell sang When I Left My Home in Erin,” by William Shakespeare Hays. You can view the sheet music to this song at the Musicfor the Nation exhibit of the Library of Congress. A midi version of the song can be found online as well.

1 comment:

Ed Daniel said...

The church choir was probably from Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, as many Irish families belonged to that church (St. Mary's was a "German Catholic" parish where sermons were in German.) My maternal great-grandfather Thomas Kennedy, an immigrant from Ireland, was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul. The homes that you showed at 525 and 527 Columbus Ave, are across the street from that church, at the other end of the block. I have been in the house at 527. A classmate of mine (in St. Mary's High School in the 1950's and for one year in college), Bob Garvin, lived in that house with his parents, Robert and Florence Garvin. The Garvins were literary-inclined; one entire wall of their living room was lined with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. Bob wanted to go to acting school in NYC after high school, but his parents made him attend college instead. He attended under duress, purposely flunking out, after which his parents relented and he headed for New York and began a career in theatre.