Music in the Gallery
May 25, 2013 § 3 Comments
Music is again filling the gallery of the Dana-Thomas House. This weekend Storia Winds, a new clarinet quintet, will present the first of several thirty minute programs of music from the turn of the last century. Beginning in June, local flute students will perform programs on Sunday afternoons.
When the house was called the Lawrence House, concerts were common. Laura (Walker) Brooks, one of Susan’s cooks, recalled one ill-fated series which I re-tell in chapter 17 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House:
Laura (Walker) Brooks remembered Peter, a guitar player who was begging for food from house to house when Susan invited him to stay at her home. She hosted recitals by him with a free will collection and gave him the money. One day he announced to Laura that he was leaving because someone told him that Susan was making money off him. Laura and Susan could not convince him otherwise, and he left.
Probably the most significant performance occurred on February 13, 1912. I describe it in chapter 10 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House:
The February 13, 1912, newspaper announced that Susan Lawrence Dana would be hosting a Valentine’s Day musicale for Governor and Mrs. Deneen at which a noted Chicago baritone, “George Vahl” would be singing. The next day the newspaper reviewed the recital and luncheon under the headline, “Joergen ‘Dohl,” Noted Baritone and Local Talent, Participate in Program—Governor and Mrs. Deneen Present.” …As usual, the Lawrence House was appropriately decorated for the [Valentine’s Day] holiday.
What the newspaper did not report was that the love theme had special significance because Susan was using the occasion to introduce Joergen Dahl, her new romantic interest, to her Springfield friends. Eventually the two married, and his hyphenated name, Joergen-Dahl, became Susan’s surname. The local press learned to spell it correctly.
I doubt that the modern programs will have the dramatic undercurrents that these two recitals had. However, I am sure that Susan would be pleased to know that the house is still being used as she and Frank Lloyd Wright intended, a venue for all the arts.