This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Salute to Burlington

13 April 2018

An old postcard is like a message in a bottle
floating on the sea of time.
After decades adrift through storms and doldrums
eventually it washes up onto a distant beach
far from where the sender ever expected it to go.

 This genial old tuba player,
with his straw hat, bow tie, and twisted mustache,
is one of those castaways
whose timeworn photo postcard
was destined to be marooned
on the shores of my photograph collection.

It happens that his arrival here
in western North Carolina
means he has actually not traveled far
from where he started
in the mountains of southwestern Virginia.
Study his face and you might see
a resemblance to a well known person of our time.
It could be another case of a time traveling celebrity,
so who do you think he looks like?

He sits on a wooden box
next to a heavy chain link fence
that guards a large industrial work site.
Behind him a long conveyor stretches up,
perhaps for moving coal or gravel into a railroad hopper car.
His broad brimmed hat looks appropriate
for what looks like a warm summer day,
as in fact it is some time around the 31st of August, 1908.

The location was somewhere near Konnarock,
a small community in the mountains
of Washington County, Virginia
just downhill from the Appalachian Trail,
and about 125 miles northeast of my desk.

The note in the bottle is brief and to the point,
and is a rare musical message.
It is addressed to:

Mr. Wm. Snyder
Synder Co.,

Will. –
"Salute to
Burlington" March
by Geo. D. Sherman.
Issues by Jean
M. Missud, Salem
Yours truly,
M. K. H.

The composer of Salute to Burlington, George Dallas Sherman was a Vermont native, born in 1844. During the Civil War he served as a musician in the 9th Vermont Infantry. After the war he returned to Burlington where he organized Sherman's Military Band in 1878. It became a much celebrated band in the region and he was its leader until retirement in 1917. George D. Sherman was also a composer of numerous band marches and this one was published in 1888. Tragically Sherman died in 1927 after being struck by an automobile while crossing a street near his home. He was 83. Even more tragic was that most of his compositions were lost in a fire that occurred the same year as his death.

Today the Burlington Concert Band continues a Vermont tradition of music making that began in 1851. They performed "Salute to Burlington", at their Sunday concert on July 24, 2016 at the Battery Park high above Lake Champlain.



As we listen to the music
that inspired this message in a bottle
it seems fitting
to follow the same tuba part
that Mr. M. K. H. would have played.

So did you guess the time-traveling celebrity?

How about Sir Anthony Hopkins
as Henry Wilcox in the 1992 film
Howards End ?

And to add more proof of time travel,
Anthony Hopkins is also an amateur composer whose works
have been recorded by the modern waltz king, André Rieu,
and by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Evidently he can play the tuba too.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where something fishy is going on.


Kathy said...

They do look a lot alike! I really enjoyed following along with the music. Great idea to include it!

Barbara Rogers said...

I'm enjoying envisioning Hopkins playing a tuba. Great story, as always! That conveyor belt is some industry, thus connects to fishing industry somehow.

Molly's Canopy said...

A great story from a fabulous photo. Vermont Union regiments played an outstanding role in the U.S. Civil War, and they still maintain active round tables in that state -- with bus trips to reenactments, etc. Nice to know Vermonters are still honoring the regimental band traditions as well.

La Nightingail said...

You did pretty well with that match between Mr. M.K.H. and Anthony. They do look quite a lot alike. :) The band sounded great and reminds me so much of the community band my daughter plays in - about the same number of people though I'm not sure if the instrument distribution is the same, but close enough I think. Daughter can't drive so my husband and I take turns driving her to rehearsals and I love listening to them practice - especially in the summertime when they rehearse outdoors in a park bandstand.

Jofeath said...

I’m only surprised that you haven’t deduced who MKH or Jean M Missud were. I have to confess that I feel moustaches like that make a lot if their wearers look quite similar, but that’s probably just me.

ScotSue said...

I recall seeing on TV an Andre Rieu concert in which he played a composition by Anthony Hopkins who was in the audience. Good to see that the Burlington Band is still thriving. Some bands in my area are finding it difficult to recruit new younger members.


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