Recalling the days of his youth in his History of Kingston, New York (1888), Marius Schoonmaker writes:
“Pianos were not then, as now, “plentiful as blackberries.” There was only one in the whole place; that was Miss Rachel Beckman’s. In 1821 or 1822 another was brought into the village by Madame Hardy, a French lady, for her daughter Laura…She at that time boarded with the mother of the writer. When Miss Hardy practised [sic], as she usually did toward evening, crowds were attracted about the windows, filling the sidewalks to listen to the unfamiliar music.”
Coming of age during this period, Mary Bruyn, daughter of Severyn Bruyn, Kingston’s first banker, and Catherine Hasbrouck, received a musical training as part of a proper education, leaving behind several albums of sheet music, her piano and family correspondence with references to her schooling. Mary’s musical collection and activities will be used to present a picture of domestic musical activity in Kingston during the first half of the 19th century, and to place it in its context regionally. Musical examples will be included.
Ulster County Historian, Geoffrey Miller, is a retired second and sixth grade classroom teacher. During the 1980’s he spent close to ten years researching the early history of music in the Hudson Valley while pursuing a doctoral degree in Musicology at New York University. Though he never completed his dissertation, he still enjoys sharing his information and insights when the opportunity arises. In addition to his responsibilities as the Ulster County Historian, Geoff is overseeing the restoration of the Reher Bakery Building, a historic structure in the Rondout-West Strand Historic District in Kingston, NY, to house a new venue for local history and diversity education: the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History.
Seating Is limited for the presentation, please call or email for your reservation.
Celebrating “Ulster County Women of Note” reception to follow presentation
Following Mr. Miller’s presentation, join UCHS for a reception celebrating the Ulster County Women of Note exhibit to be shown during the month of September at Bevier House Museum.
This project is the fruit of a collaboration between UCHS and Ellenville Public library & Museum begun in 2015. The two organizations invited local historical societies, libraries and schools to participate in an “Ulster County Women of Note” project. A 16 panel, traveling exhibit based on images and narratives submitted by 12 participating organizations was created. By the end of 2017, “Ulster County Women of Note” will have traveled to over 11 locations. The exhibit and an upcoming Suffragist Rally are made possible by a Humanities New York (formerly The New York Council for the Humanities) Action Grant.