Music was not the last talent to be practiced by the early settlers. In fact it was probably the first. They had musical talent in abundance. Some of them brought organs with them which today are prized heirlooms but then were in constant use for church music, dance music, accompaniments and to teach young fingers their notes. The Burgess girls, Ruth B. Gardner,Alice B. Gardner, Ella B. Snow and Lucy Burgess were among the early accompanists and music teachers.
Almost immediately after settlement began, a choir was started. William A. Terry had been a member of the choir in St. George and his experience, enthusiasm and dynamic personality were the assets needed to get the project started and keep it active and growing during the years he acted as leader.
I like the picture Claude Fawcett's story of his family's arrival in the Valley in 1902 calls to mind. Picture a town beginning to take shape on a green oasis against the mountains in basically desert surroundings with a few widely scattered houses of adobes, logs, rocks or reassembled lumber. It is a warm Sunday afternoon in late June (one can almost hear the lazy buzzing of a fly) when over the "raise'' and down the dusty road leading past the Home Ranch buildings by the spring comes a four horse, two wagon outfit, followed by another wagon with two horses and a boy on another horse driving a milk cow and a heifer. As they come down the street, tired after ten days on the road, they hear singing. It is coming from the rock home of George E. (Edward)Burgess on the corner lot where Dick Gunderson now lives, and they are having choir practice. William A. Terry is conducting and Lucy Burgess is accompanying on the organ.
I can believe that my father, Robert Reid, was there and George Fawcett, Mose Harrison,Orrin and Ella Snow, Alice B. and Ruth B. Gardner, Otis and George Terry, Bertha Smith, Charlotte Peacock, the Wakeling sisters, Ellen Oxborrow and Lillian Ashby, Mary L., Sabra and Mollie Oxborrow, Ella Baxter, Rebecca Sinfield and possibly A. R. Whitehead although he did not move his family until later that year. Perhaps not all these people were there at that particular time and perhaps there were others but these first generation names are listed frequently in the early records for solos, duets, quartets and mixed groups of various kinds. Another piece of information is that they held choir practice every Sunday evening except the first in the month which was reserved for a joint meeting of the Young Men and Young Ladies of the M.I.A.
There are so many names and singing groups listed in the old minute books that what to put in is not so much the problem as what must be left out. In a sense they are a chronicle of the different age groups as they came to Mutual age. Among the earliest singers of the second generation are Ada Fawcett, Gladys and Reta Whitehead, Grace Terry, Ervin and EdmundHendrix Jr., Julius Gardner, La Veta Harrison, Ethel Smith, Allen and James Wakeling. The choir, other mixed groups and individual talents combined to give a number of concerts and once in the early years they even produced an opera, which, although I have not been able to learn the name, it was reported that the performance and voice quality were excellent. People used to say that under different circumstances, Ada Fawcett (Smith) could have been a grand opera singer.
The women have a tradition of group singing in various organizations and combinations. Almost always there has been a Relief Society chorus that at one time was called the Singing Mothers. Grace Terry Vance led a number of these choruses for many years.
At one time the young women formed a chorus independent of any church organization which they simply called the Ladies' Chorus. It had an informal format, meeting socially at the different homes. This lasted for quite a number of years with a flexible membership that included interested women of all ages and sponsored a wide variety of programs, concerts,dramatics, Christmas cantatas and variety shows. This group was especially active in raising money for the new church building fund, performing in Ely and McGill as well as Lund. One outstanding performance was a Negro Minstrel (given for its folk humor with no thought of ethnic connotations). At another time as part of a county project to raise money for a charitable cause, they were asked to sing at an Open House at the Elks' Hall in Ely. The crowd was small when they performed and they were asked by the committee to stay and repeat Neapolitan Nights when there was a larger crowd.
Nothing is so constant as change and there has always been new talent to fill in and form new groups. A positive feature of this succession of women's singing groups is preparedness. Some combination of singers is always ready for any occasion throughout the area, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, as well as for the traditional White River celebrations. Some names that deserve mention for recent work with the choirs and choruses as leaders and/or accompanists are Ludean Carter, Margaret Gubler, Kathryn Gubler, Virginia Gardner, Elinor Gardner, Carol Cripps, Carol McKenzie, Dawn Ashby. Ludean Carter has recently organized a barbershop group, affiliated with the Sweet Adelines in Ely that have given performances of professional quality and excellence.
The old minute books reveal that the young men were as active as the women in vocal performances even though not so well organized and in addition to singing in the choir, sang solos, duets, quartets, etc. together or in mixed groups with the women. It has been mentioned that the church auxiliaries especially did much to foster talents of various kinds. Once, sometime in the late 1920's, Mildred Reid Ivins was director of an M.I.A. activity program. She decided to capitalize on the uninhibited musical performances of the young men in their natural environment so she got a group together for a cowboy show. There was enthusiastic responseand input from the men and the performance, staged with outdoor scenery around a campfire was a joint effort, unique and original with a distinctly local atmosphere. It was so successful, it was repeated with different formats a number of times in the ensuing years. Some of the young men who took part were Garr Ashby, Lee Hendrix, Fern Sinfield, Ashby Harrison, Loraine Ivins.
In a day when dancing was the most popular recreational activity, these young people began dancing (in the homes at first) almost from the moment they arrived. Dance music was a mustand the people of White River from that day to this, have been able to furnish their own. The Oxborrow brothers were the first, Jack, George and Eph with "fiddle", harmonica and mandolin, accompanied by Mollie Oxborrow, Lucy Burgess or Ella Baxter playing the organ. The music they played included quadrilles (square dances), interspersed with waltzes, two steps, Varsouviennes, schottisches, reels and polkas. Jack Horsley was an important part of this orchestral ensemble for he had a special talent which was calling the squares. His musical rhythmic chant added to the liveliness of the music and started toes tapping. Beginners might get lost in the intricacies of the more complicated figures of the dance but when he would sing out,''Allemande left and dos-a-dos, swing your partner and all promenade,'' they all knew just what todo and would finish out the set in fine style. Or he might say, "Promenade all around the hall," and all the sets would join together in a hilarious finale. A Grand March was another feature of the dances and the caller and an expert lead couple could form the lines into figures and formations that were beautiful to watch and exciting to participate in. Tiny Grandmother Oxborrow (Mary L.) mother of the Oxborrow clan included music among her many talents. She had a little concertina which she played willingly on every festive occasion.
As time went by younger members of the Oxborrow family and other families were recruited and a number of people joined the group at different times in different combinations. Marie, Bryant and Effie, Hilda and Nat, Allen, Seymour and Lloyd (Mick), all from the different Oxborrow families helped with the music. Garr Ashby, Ashby Harrison and Murry Whipple alternated with harmonica, guitar and banjo. LaVeta and Zella Harrison and Ruth Gardner were among the accompanists on organ and piano.
Ruth B. Gardner was said to have had the first piano in Lund. An entry in the post office money order book records that D. C. (David) Gardner sent a money order for $99.63 to the Clayton Piano Company in Salt Lake City on February 15, 1916. Very soon a number of people in town had pianos and those who could teach were more in demand than ever. There were other musical instruments purchased as people could afford them, also, guitars, banjos, violins, etc.
Mart Gardner said that his father bought him a "fiddle" for his fourteenth birthday. Soon afterward, with his violin and his crutches fastened to the saddle, he rode horseback to St.George, accompanied by his younger brother, Neil. He stayed there for a year taking violin lessons. In an interview he gave George Paice for a school composition he said he played for all the dances in Lund from 1916 to 1956. During those years he also traveled to the surrounding towns and ranches to play for their dances. An image of Mart sitting with his violin tucked under his chin and his crutches leaning against his chair is etched deeply in White River memorabilia. Many of the same young people who had played with the Oxborrows played with Mart's orchestra and also others, Zina and Kathryn Harrison, Mary Whitehead, Edna Oxborrow and others.
Two people who played with Mart for many years and continued to play for all the dances formany years after he quit were Audrey Ashby and Kelly Harrison. After moving to Ely Audrey Ashby (Smith) and Nat Oxborrow have played with various dance orchestra groups who furnish music throughout the county. They are frequently asked to play at special functions where versatility in playing old time as well as modern music is wanted and they always play at the Old Folk's Party and a few other occasions during the year at Lund.
A recent group who have furnished dance music with electric guitars and drum are Laine Hendrix, David Petersen and Steven Carter. They have managed up to a point to bridge the generation gap. Their music has the beat that satisfies the young people without the extreme dissonance that is so baffling to the older generation.
The young people of an earlier day did not think of dancing as an art--it was just something one did naturally like eating and sleeping. They learned from observation and imitation and agreat deal of practice. But, since every generation asserts itself by changing the pattern, so, in the next decades the young people preferred the waltz and the foxtrot. Then, when ragtime music and later Jazz became popular, the "rag," and "shimmy," and the Charleston were the dances that shocked their elders. Nevertheless, due largely to the annual Old Folk's Party, interest in the old time dances was kept alive and everyone learned them even before a revival of square dancing swept the country.
This is not to say that different forms of the dance have not been formally taught. Sometime about the middle of the first decade after the settlers arrived, Donna Miles came to Lund to teach school. She taught a group of the girls who were teenagers at the time the Scottish Highland Fling. Some of these girls were Mazie Reid, LaVeta Harrison, Ida Mathis, Ada Fawcett, Grace Terry, and Reta Whitehead. I do not know how their parents managed it but they had beautiful costumes of Tartan plaid with the short, full pleated skirts or kilts, and the long scarf called a Tartan tied under one arm and over the shoulder, knee-length socks and the rakish little hats typical of the Highlander. Donna Miles married Ernest Burgess in 1908 and they lived in the community only a short time before moving to Utah but the girls kept the costumes and performed on many occasions in the following years. My sister, Mazie Reid Ashby, who is now eighty-seven years old, said, "I have seen the dance since but never with as many steps and figures as we learned. I could do it yet if I could dance."
Agnes Chism, the second high school teacher after a two year high school was established,also taught folk dances. She had a folk dance festival with dances from different countries. The two I remember dancing in were the Irish Washerwoman and a Russian Peasant dance. This was also a group of girls. Besides myself there were Carol Ivins, Laura Gubler, Lena Carter, Virginia Smith, Mary and Nevada Whitehead, Thelma Oxborrow, Beulah Whipple and Leonora Gardner.
When the M.I.A. incorporated dance instruction in their activity program, Hans Rasmussen,who had recently come to this country from Denmark and later married Fern Gubler, was one of the first dance directors. He was talented and dedicated and gave the program a good start. Other capable directors have been Wallace Taylor, Jimmie Whipple, Vesta Gardner, Patsy Terry, Nephi and Jeannette Schwab. Ludean Carter, along with her many other musical contributions to the town, has given many years of patient service to this program for the young people. Her daughter, Jeanne, and her husband, Gilbert Griffin, are at present serving as leaders in this very worth while effort. This activity has values beyond the learning experience it provides, in participation in stake dance and music festivals and also in the church-wide festivals in Salt LakeCity where hundreds of young people dance together the dances they have learned in their different wards.
Other dance teachers have had classes in tap and/or interpretive dancing for children of all ages, among them Daphne Robinson of Ely, Molly Kaye Reid and Marsha Gardner.
The schools, along with reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic, have always played a part in the development of talents with programs at least twice a year. Florence Bourne was the first regular music teacher after a four-year high school was started. She staged an operetta called the Singer of Naples about 1926. The performers were Kelly and Kathryn Harrison, Frank Oxborrow, Alvin Cazier, Alta Peacock, Leah Terry, La Verna Vance, Sybil Oxborrow and a chorus. Fawn Ivinsand I as graduate students also participated.
Band was introduced into the schools briefly (two years) in the early 1940's by Grant Harris when he was principal of the grade school. Sherman Hawkins deserves much credit for his part in the development of musical talent in the schools. He began teaching music which included band in the schools in 1962. Some of the members have continued with band on through high school until now the band has reached a high degree of excellence and the two concerts they give each year are highlights in the town's activities. They have also had opportunities to combine with other bands (Sherman Hawkins has taught music in the Ruth grade school and this year in the newly formed Junior High School), to participate in the county music festival and to travel to music clinics in southern Utah, where they have received excellent ratings.
Some teachers have brought their musical talents to the town, married and became permanent residents. Two of these early teachers were Donna Miles Burgess and Vilo Redd Snow (taught at Preston). Others were Winnie Frandsen Carter who played the violin with much expression and skill. Elinor Stuart Gardner has contributed her talent as performer and accompanist on the pianoin addition to her many services in the auxiliary organizations. Margaret Piercy Gubler, highlyskilled pianist and truly a perfectionist in all fields of endeavor, has managed to raise the standardof musical accomplishment in the community, if not to her level, at least to a higher level than before.
In speaking of contributions to the music of Lund special mention is due the Harrison family. The girls, LaVeta,Zella, Zina and Kathryn all sang and played the piano and were much indemand for dance music and as accompanists. The boys, Ashby, Fred, Antone and Kelly also sang and Ashby and Kelly played a variety of instruments in different dance orchestras. The four youngest, Antone, Zina, Kathryn and Kelly became well known throughout the county for their singing. They sang quartets, trios, duets and solos at numerous functions throughout the area. On March 9, 1980, at Sacrament Service, Bishop Albert Gubler presented Kathryn Harrison Gubler with a medallion on a chain with her name engraved on the front and on the back a tribute for her twenty-six years of service as organist for the Sunday School.
It is notable that music ranks high in the accomplishments of the descendants of these early pioneers. This can be attributed to two inherited characteristics, talents and determination. Laura Gubler Hendrix deserves much credit for the honors her family has received in this field. Also the children of Effie Oxborrow Long Read owe much of their success along this line to their mother.
Any occasion was an excuse for a program. Here is a list of some of the remembered or recorded numbers up to the early 1920's.
Mary L. (Grandma) Oxborrow - Song - Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet accompanied by herself on her concertina.
Mose Harrison - Song - Sweet Alice Ben Bolt - or comic reading or jokes.
Orrin Snow - Song - Don't Ask Your Girl to the Fancy Ball if You Only Have Fifty Cents.
Robert Reid - Song - Asleep in the Deep, Grandfather's Clock or Love's Old Sweet Song.
May Reid - Reading - Bairnies Cuddle Doon, Betty and the B'ar or If.
Delle R. Ivins - Reading - Kentucky Philosophy (the Watermillion) or Here She Goes and There She Goes.
Belle Gardner - Reading - likely to be the homespun philosophizing and humor of an early day housewife.
Wakeling sisters, Lil Ashby and Ellen Oxborrow - Duet - Whispering Hope or What Shall the Harvest Be?
Bertha Smith, Charlotte Peacock and Gladys Whitehead - trio - Juanita.
Vilo Redd (Snow) - Song - Last Night the Nightingale Woke Me.
Jack Oxborrow - Yodeling Song.
Joseph Oxborrow - Reading.
Oxborrow brothers, Eph, George, Jack, Joe and Ted - a variety of comic songs - Old Dan Tucker, Hush, My Baby, Don't Say a Word, and the Chicken Pie Song.
Lonnie Gardner - Song - I Wish I Was Single Again (Oh, When I Was Single, My pockets would jingle, I wish I was single again.)
Ethel Smith - Reading - When Malinda Sings.
Ida Mathis - Reading - 'Spacially Jim.
A. R. Whitehead, William, Otis, George and Wilford Terry, George, John and Ed Fawcett, Henry Gubler, C. L. Rowe, Ervin and Edmund Hendrix, Jule Gardner, Allen and James Wakeling, Rance Savage Solos, Duets, Quartets, together or in mixed groups.
Donna Burgess, Ethel and Zina Smith, Gladys and Reta Whitehead, Grace Terry, LaVeta andZella Harrison, Marie Oxborrow, Ruth Gardner, Isabel and Mona Smith, Ina Gubler - Songs or instrumental music.
Rennie and Owen Whitehead, Robert L. Reid, Garr Ashby, Ashby Harrison, Lee Hendrix, Lorain Hendrix, Rodney and Bryant Oxborrow Songs, alone, together or in mixed groups.
Mary Sinfield, Lillis and Bliss Ivins, Mazie and Mildred Reid, Emerald McKenzie, Luella Fawcett - Readings.
Hilda, Sabra and Effie Oxborrow, Lillian Ashby, Bessie Smith, Leona Savage - Songs or instrumental.
Winnie Frandsen Carter and Mart Gardner - Violin solos or duets -one favorite - the Shepherd Girl's Dream.
Mary Whitehead, Laura Gubler, Lena Carter, Virginia Smith - Song. Carol Ivins - Reading.
Della Gardner and Zina Harrison - Song.
Pearl Ivins - Piano number.
Mabel Gubler - Song.