New Year’s Eve 1915- Gloucester’s spectacular annual Midsummer’s Night ball at City Hall was in the news

Boston GLOBE

In 1915, the annual New Year’s Eve ball at City hall in Gloucester was hopping. Ball dancing! Magical spectacle and theatre design! Interpretive Dance! Quartet! Vocalists!

Dec. 31, 1915

Commonwealth Club Dance: Gloucester organization presents its “Midsummer’s Night Party” in City Hall

The annual New Year’s eve concert and assembly of the Commonwealth Club of this city, the “Mid-Summer’s Night Party,” was celebrated in City Hall tonight.

These occasions are noted for their unique decorative schemes and that of this evening made a spectacular ball room setting. Pres Lantz designed and superintended the scenic effect.

The entertainment comprised a program by an orchestra, the Campus Quartet of Dartmouth College, __gure and allegorical dances by Miss Melba Procter, cornet solos by Arian Latham and a violin obbligato by A.A. Lucier. Mrs. Charles C. Nelson of this city gave the vocal solo, “Less than Dust” to Miss Procter’s interpretive Persian dance. Richard W. Freeman was the chairman of the entertainment committee.

“Commonwealth Club Dance: Gloucester organization presents its “Midsummer’s Night Party” in City Hall”, Boston Globe, January 1, 1916

AUDIO LISTEN

Failing audio or photographs from the actual event, here are some examples of the program. The music for Less than Dust was composed by Amy Woodforde-Finden (1860-1919) sometime during 1894-1902. Lyrics by Laurence Hope were added later, copyrighted 1906.

Here is a 1924 audio clip of Less than Dust (Far East love lyrics) solo, with baritone Royal Dadmun, in the Library of Congress collection:

Hope, Laurence, Royal Dadmun, Amy Woodforde-Finden, and Rosario Bourdon. Less Than the Dust
. 1924. Audio.

LYRICS

“Less than the Dust”

Less than the dust, beneath thy Chariot wheel,
Less than the rust, that never stained thy Sword,
Less than the trust thou hast in me, O Lord,
⁠Even less than these!

Less than the weed, that grows beside thy door,
Less than the speed of hours spent far from thee,
Less than the need thou hast in life of me.
⁠Even less am I.

Since I, O Lord, am nothing unto thee,
See here thy Sword, I make it keen and bright,
Love’s last reward, Death, comes to me to-night,
⁠Farewell, Zahir-u-din.

Laurence Hope Lyrics Less than Dust 1906 (set to earlier music composed by Amy Woodforde-Finden)

Since I couldn’t find a Less than Dust soprano example, ‘here to help us hear’ a female’s voice as was on the program in Gloucester’s City Hall that New Year’s Eve– apparently a wonderful local singer, Mrs. Charles Nelson- : enjoy audio of a another song from this same Woodforde-Finden cycle, Kashmiri, sung by Maggie Teyte (1888-1976) and recorded in that era.

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Loesser’s hit Margaret Whiting 1947; Orioles 1949; Ella 1960; Nancy Wilson 1967; Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt 2011; Idina Menzel 2017

American hockey legend #GloucesterMA Ben Smith inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame

Ben Smith US Hockey Hall of Fame

From the United States Hockey Hall of Fame printed matter, hockey player and stellar hockey coach, Ben Smith:

Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass.) served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team in 1998, 2002 and 2006, leading Team USA to the first-ever gold medal in women’s hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. It was the crowning achievement in a storied coaching career. 

Described by his players as a direct and passionate perfectionist, Smith compiled a 37-7 record in IIHF Women’s World Championship and Olympic competition during his tenure at the helm from 1996 to 2006, a span that included two gold medals, six silver medals and one bronze medal. And while Smith’s high-profile exploits as a women’s hockey coach gained him enshrinement into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2016, his hall-of-fame résumé extends far beyond a single brilliant decade. 

The son of a U.S. Senator*, Smith was a standout hockey player at Harvard University in the late 1960s. After graduation, he served as an assistant men’s hockey coach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst while also coaching high school hockey in Gloucester. He eventually became a men’s hockey assistant coach at Yale University, where he served for five seasons before joining Jack Parker’s coaching staff at Boston University. During his nine seasons at BU, the Terriers made three NCAA Tournament appearances and won four Beanpot Tournament championships. 

Smith’s first taste of international competition came in 1985 when he was named an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team. He served in a similar capacity in 1986 and 1987 and was also an assistant coach for the 1987 U.S. Men’s National Team. In 1988, Smith was appointed as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. He soon earned his first head coaching appointment, taking the helm at Dartmouth College in 1990 and then moving to the same role at Northeastern University, where he led the Huskies to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994.

Smith remains active with USA Hockey serving in a player evaluation role for many international teams, including the gold medal-winning 2017 U.S. National Junior Team.”

 

*I’ve run into articles and archival material about both Ben Smith II and III. On GMG, Nicole posted beautiful and direct experiences about Ben Smith like this one: https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/olympic-dreams/

Janice Shea wrote me after a GMG post about Gloucester atheletes and Harvard (and Olympic!) connections*Ben Smith Senior, of Annisquam, was President John F Kennedy’s roommate at Harvard. He became Massachusetts Senator when JFK became president. Here’s a link to the Ben Smith II obit  http://www.nytimes.com/1991/09/28/obituaries/benjamin-smith-75-us-senator-in-1960-s.html  and wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_A._Smith_II.  And here for Ben Smith III (junior) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Smith_(ice_hockey_coach)   plus an interesting read about his coaching http://old.post-gazette.com/olympics/20020218olyhockfill0218p8.asp 

Gloucester Daily Times article about Hall of Fame induction