1912-1915 Asquith

L. Marie Asquith   1912 – 1914

Jessie M. Grossman    1914 - 1915


On April 5, 1912, Davis took a leave of absence due to ill health, and the district employed Miss L. Marie Asquith to carry on her high school work for the remainder of the semester at $25 per month (School Board, 1910-1912, p. 229).  Asquith received her education at St. Mary’s School in Knoxville, Illinois, and Lyceum Arts, Chicago where she studied with Sibyl Sammis MacDermid (Polaris, 1914).  Mary O’Connor was hired full time to teach music at 8 grade schools (grades 1st-8th) with a salary of $75 per month.  Asquith was paid $40 per month to work three half days per week at the high school, teaching general music classes, Treble Clef Club, Glee Club, and Orchestra (School Board, 1912-1914, p. 26).  In 1914, Asquith resigned, and Jessie M. Grossman was elected to the position of high school music at $50 per month (p. 185).   

National Happenings:

In the 1910s, school boards from Oakland, CA to Rochester, NY allotted $10,000 each to the purchase of band and orchestra instruments for every school in their systems (1913 and 1918 respectively).  Although this was the exception, it provided leadership and inspiration for others across the nation (Colwell & Goolsby, 2002, p. 7). 
            The school band movement also began in the 1910s.  The ensembles were often associated with the school orchestra; members frequently belonging to both groups.  The bands, however, often developed from the ground up, unlike orchestras which chose already accomplished musicians as members (Birge, 1966, p. 187).
            Gordon (1956) identified the results of a survey done in 1915 at the National Supervisors’ Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Of the 58 schools which responded, the average number of different instruments in the orchestra was 7, only 10% rehearsed during the school day, and 34% offered credit to students for their work (p. 35).  This last statistic demonstrates the influence of the recommendation by the 1911 Music Supervisors’ National Conference that academic credit be given for participation in ensembles. 

High School Music:

In 1911, orchestra members Earl Sinclair, Ethel Thompson, and Charles Markel approached the school board to request the formation of a band.  The school board turned them down, but with Principal Fulwider’s support, the same students attempted twice more.  On the third try, the school board voted to hire a band director and furnish a beginners method book, but all members were required to furnish their own instruments and uniforms.  In 1912, Lucius M. Hiatt directed the band after school from 4 – 5 pm, once per week.  Hiatt brought his two sons; Hal on clarinet and Lucius on trombone.  Along with Earl, Ethel, and Charles, they assisted in coaching the beginners during rehearsals.  Initially, Hiatt directed 14 boys on second-hand instruments.  The boys paid 15 cents per lesson (Tilden, 1972, p. 453).  The band rehearsed during the fall of 1912 and spring of 1913.  They performed for their first annual concert on May 5, 1913 and for commencement that year as well, according to the 1913 Polaris. Concert proceeds were used toward the purchase of uniforms for the performers and their director (Tilden, 1972, p. 453).  The band grew to 28 members, and on October 3, 1913, the school board agreed to pay Hiatt $14 per month for 5 months (1912-1914, p. 141).  Principal Fulwider demonstrated his support through a letter to the school board written on April 3, 1914:

Last year the boys bought instruments amounting to over $500.00.  They paid the director all year.  The uniforms cost $378.00.  We have bought and paid for a bass drum, clarinet, bass horn, alto horn – cash $77.50.  This year the Board paid part of Mr. Hiatt’s charges, and this we appreciate.  The Band is now in debt over $100.00 on uniforms and Mr. Hiatt’s instruction.  We ask the Board to assume and pay Mr. Hiatt’s charges of $7.00 a week, beginning February last, not exceeding a maximum of $122.50 per semester, or $245.00 per year.  As a case in point, I will cite that the Rockford Board of Education pays the Band director over $300.00 a year. (p. 170)

The formation of the high school band had both a positive and negative impact on the orchestra, as it did with many programs across the country.  For years, the band was hired to furnish music for commencement week, a privilege that had previously been given to the orchestra. 
            The high school had an orchestra, a mandolin quartette, a mixed chorus of 8 boys and 8 girls, and a band which practiced national hymns and school songs (Polaris, October 11, 1912, p. 5).  The orchestra, which practiced weekly, had 5 members in 1911, expanded to 16 members in 1912, and then 19 in 1913.  John A. Seefelder, who was instructor of manual training, was pictured playing bass for the ensemble from 1912 to 1915.  In 1912, the ensemble performed for events such as the operetta, the Parent-Teacher Association and the Junior Extemporaneous Speaking Contest (Polaris, November 8, 1912, p. 11).  The personnel consisted of 8 violins - Minnie Brunnemer, Harriet Yarger, Helen Reynolds, Earl Sinclair, Russell Nott, Roy Snyder, Julia Demeter, and Orletta Rideout; 1 flute - Emil Hoefer; 1 clarinet - Charles Mund; 2 cornets - Bee Langenstein and Fred Taylor; 1 drum - Wilbur Rawleigh; and 1 piano - Caro Boos (Polaris, March 14, 1913, p. 11).  Proceeds for the 1911 and 1912 operettas “Bul-Bul” and “The Pennant,” given at the Grand Opera House, went to purchase new records for the Victrola.  In 1913, proceeds were used to purchase a new cello (Polaris, October 10, 1913, p. 11).  In 1913, the orchestra met with 19 members, including some new violin, trombone, and clarinet players (Polaris, September 26, 1913, p. 10). 
            The senior class lecture course continued in 1912 when Leon Marx, a violinist with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, came to Freeport to perform with his trio (Polaris, October 11, 1912, p. 1).  The course also included a concert by the Bergen-Marx Company Quartet in 1913 (Polaris, 1913).
            On May 2, 1913, the school board decided “that one supervisor be given charge of all the music work of the schools – both grade and high school” (1912-1914, p. 75).  O’Connor was elected by the board as Music Supervisor for the 1913-1914 school year with a salary of $90 per month (p. 76).  High school students flooded the board with petitions to retain Asquith as music instructor in the high school.  The board rescinded its decision on June 2, 1913 and re-employed Asquith for the following school year at $40 per month in addition to O’Connor at the grade schools at $80 per month (p. 87). 

Jessie Grossman 1914-1915

In 1914, Asquith resigned, and Jessie M. Grossman was elected to the position of high school music at $50 per month (School Board, 1912-1914, p. 185).  Grossman studied piano with Earl C. Smith at the Chicago Musical College, and her vocal instructors included Margaret Fry and Sybil Sammis McDermid at the Public School Music National Summer School (Polaris, 1915, p. 16).  Grossman only remained in the position for one year, at which time, Nellie Provost was hired by the school board to teach General Music and English.  Lucius Hiatt, band director, was given the additional responsibility of leading the orchestra at an initial salary of $28 per month (School Board, 1914-1916).