excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 247-249 (393 words)

excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 247-249 (393 words)

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Recollections of an old musician

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The first concert we ever gave in Topeka, Kansas, about thirty-five years ago, was signalized by a scene I shall not soon forget. We had a full house in the local concert hall. I noticed when we began to play that the front row of seats was empty, evidently reserved for some special people. Those “specials” came in while we played our first piece. They were Indians, about twelve in number, some being “blanket Indians”—which means that they wore their brilliant blue and yellow striped blankets shawl-wise, and their buckskin moccasins, and that their faces and front hair were painted. The rest of the party were dressed like good, stock-raising American farmers, but were unmistakably Indians. I was told there was a father with six sons in the party, all very large, broad-shouldered men. They filed quietly into their seats, preceded by a local guide, in whose hands they seemed like good, docile children.


No shadow of emotion could be seen on their countenances.

The fifth number of the programme was a violin solo played by Mr. Schultze, and for an encore he gave a little caprice entitled, The Bird in the Tree, a charming jeu d'esprit, by Miska Hauser, which represents the joyful, almost delirious, singing of a wild bird in the woods. The moment Mr. Schultze began this piece, the Indians were all alive, their eyes sparkled with pleasure, and they nudged each other with their elbows. And when the little bird-melody and imitations of bird singing began (all done in high harmonic, flageolet tones on the violin), they looked all around the ceiling and the walls, doubtless expecting to see singing-birds flitting about. Not seeing any, they looked at the violinist, and began to understand that he was the magician. The surprise, and almost incredulity, which was depicted on the faces of these children of nature was a rare show in itself. At its conclusion they jumped up and down just as little children do when something unusual pleases them.

This violin piece ended the first part of the programme. Our second part began with another serious piece, and the twelve pairs of eyes lapsed into the ox-like placidity again. Very shortly the red men had had enough of us “ freaks,” and they quietly rose and filed out of the hall.

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excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 247-249 (393 words)


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