Music in the Gallery

May 25, 2013 § 3 Comments

GalleryMusic 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.

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§ 3 Responses to Music in the Gallery

  • Nancy Chapin says:

    Impressive that you find fresh and new things to report each week!! Not an easy thing to do.


  • Mary Beaumont says:

    I have seen nothing about this concert this week-end for forthcoming ones. It is not on DTHF calendar. Can you tell us more?

    • susanandme says:

      I did some investigating, and Justin Blandford, the current site manager, sent me this information: Today was the first concert and really a test run. A few details are below. We’ll issue a press release in the coming days.

      The Made for Music series begins June 8 at 10am with a 30-minute performance by Storia Winds, a clarinet ensemble. Storia Winds will return for additional concerts at 10am on June 22, July 6, July 20, and August 3. The Eddy Flute Choir will present 30-minute performances at 1pm the Dana-Thomas House every Sunday during the summer from June 9 through August 25. Guests should check in at the Carriage House. The concerts are free but donations are appreciated.

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You are currently reading Music in the Gallery at Susan and Me: Two Women in a Wright House.


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