Willow Grove Park - Search and Find
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information about the important music and performers
who made
Willow Grove Park
America’s Summer Music Capitol

Download and print the following pages of questions:

Click here to print out the complete list of questions.

To answer the following questions, use the 1960 article:
“The Rise and Fall of Willow Grove Park”

Q.        In what year was the park opened?

Q.     During the first season, the concert band, directed by Frederick Innes performed during the entire season. What was the name of the group and its conductor who performed for the entire second season, and who would return for many weekly engagements in future years?

Q.     Why were bands better suited and more popular than orchestras at Willow Grove Park?

Q.     How was the stay of John Philip Sousa different from other performers?

Q.     Early in the history of the park, trolleys from the Philadelphia Rapid Transit company brought patrons to the park. What two modern innovations were responsible for changing the modes of transportation?

Q.     What new inventions also contributed to the decline of patrons to the park?

Q.     The death of what composer / conductor helped to mark the end of the golden age of the park?

Q.     In 1926 the direction of entertainment moved into the swing ear when the park was purchased by a big-band leader. What was the name of that leader?

Q.     What impact did Willow Grove Park have toward the founding of other summer music festivals?

Q.     What musicals are said to have been written in the park by Victor Herbert?

Q.     John Philip Sousa also wrote much of his music at Willow Grove, and expressed his approval of the facilities. Sousa was a close friend of Thomas E. Mitten, who operated the PRT after 1911. His friendship was demonstrated on one occasion by the composition of what march?

Q.     What hymn, written Arthur Sullivan, is included in this march?

Q.     How many people could be seated in and around the pavilion?

Q.     Labor Day of 1905 had a typical audience for a holiday. How many people attended the concerts on Labor Day of 1905?

Programs and Schedules

Q.     What was the most common program style of those used early at the park?

Q.     How can you tell that the picture on the program of Damrosch showing the stage was taken early in the park’s history?

Q.     At the beginning of the 1900's, the programs became taller and narrower. What picture generally appeared on the cover?

Q.     “The 24 page program with typical page of pictures of the composers featured, and a paragraph explaining each composition or section was typically used for which performer in the early 1900’s?”

Q.     Before each season, a promotional booklet giving information about the attractions and performers was distributed. While the design remained the same throughout the years, the color changed. What famous element of the park is pictured on the cover?

Q.     Walter Damrosch appeared early in his career – his first performance during the second season. How many years total did he appear at the park?

Q.     How many years did Sousa and his band appear?

Q.     After Sousa, who performed the most often?

Q.     Groups from foreign countries were often guests of the park. What conductor performed most frequently with his band?

Q.     According to the chart of the SUMMARY: WILLOW GROVE PARK MUSIC - FIRST 10 YEARS how does the style in repertoire change after the first 3 years?

The March King : The Uniqueness of Sousa:

Q.     What instrument did Sousa first study?

Q.     In his programming of music, Sousa was an innovator. Name areas from where he drew his new repertoire?

Q.     For what reason was Sousa enlisted in the Marine band?

Q.     What instrument did Sousa play in 1876 in Offenbach‘ s Orchestra? (Philadelphia Centennial Exposition) ?

Q.     Sousa served as conductor under how many different U.S. presidents?

Q.     What is the name of Sousa’s march which had become the official song of the Marine Corps?

Q.     Patrick S. Gilmore, sometimes called “the father of the U. S. concert band”, had the finest concert band in the U.S. when Sousa built the quality and repertoire of the Marine Band. What event happened to help raise the quality of the civilian band Sousa organized after leaving the Marine Band?

Q.     When and where did Sousa compose his famous “Stars and Stripes Forever."?

Q.     During World War I, at age sixty-two, Sousa accepted the responsibility of training young bandsmen. He wore the uniform and accepted the military rank by which he was known. What was that rank?

Q.     What was the last year of Sousa’s last performance at Willow Grove Park, and how many seasons had he appeared at the park?

Q.     Where was Sousa when he died?

Q.     Sousa was one of a few composers who helped to found the American Society of Composers And Publishers, which was recently in the news during the recent cases involving downloading music from the internet. What is the purpose of ASCAP?

Q.     Which of Sousa’s novels is about a magic violin with “devilish” powers?

Q.     In his field, the illustrator of Sousa’s novel and some of his music is as well known as is Sousa. What is the name of this man famous for his artwork?

Q.     Who is the contemporary author whose books provide the most in-depth research into Sousa?

Q.     Sousa wrote a book, in the style of Huckleberry Fin, about a boy growing up on the river in Washington DC which he acknowledges contains portions similar to his own childhood. What is the name of this novel?

Q.     In this novel what “imaginative five-chapter climax gives these reminiscences the necessary "shot in the arm" to appeal to a juvenile audience?”

Q.     What was the name of Sousa’s Autobiography?

Q.     Sousa listed 3 occupations on the official form for the Navy Department at age 63. What were they?

Q.     In the section describing Sousa’s last thoughts, the speaks of his spiritual inspiration. Included as a quote where he writes what he believes music does:
"Music __________________________________"

Q.     Col. George Hinton, Sousa’s publicity manager, invented a publicity in stunt in 1900, which many believe, today, to be the truth. What was this P. R. ploy?

Q.     When Victor Herbert appeared at Willow Grove Park he was one of the most famous composers and performers in the country. He his marches for band, operettas for the stage and works for orchestra were familiar selections. His concerto for what orchestral instrument is part of today’s standard repertoire?

Q.     Herbert’s second operetta, produced first in 1903, is perhaps his most famous. It has been made into at least two movies and has also been made into TV specials. The “March of the Toys” is often heard during the Holiday season. What is the name of his most famous operettas?

Q.     Walter Damrosch Walter Damrosch was one of the most important figures in America’s history of classical music. The story goes that as a young conductor he was eager to provide summer work and exposure to for his members of the New York Symphony. What unique agreement did Damrosch make with the officials of Willow Grove Park?

Q.     To educate students about classical music Damrosch was the host of national broadcasts on NBC. During school hours, children gathered to hear the programs directed to students with different degrees of understanding. As a pioneer of radio music broadcasts and one of the first musical superstars how many “fan letters” per year did he receive?

Q.     In 1930, Walter Damrosch wrote that his performances at Willow Grove Park helped to set the stage for the founding of other classical organizations. He wrote “Its concerts are crowded to the doors and I like to think that our seven years of pioneer work in Willow Grove have helped to lay its foundations". What organization does he help take credit for laying the groundwork in its founding?

Q.     In 1930, Damrosch wrote “We have not nearly enough to properly equip the symphony orchestras already in existence.” What instruments were rare in the ‘30s?

Items of Interest

The Souvenir Stand

Q.     Because of the musical nature of the Park, souvenirs related to the performers were plentiful. An interesting pin from the 1906 season depicts four of willow Grove Park's most famous composers who were they?

Q.     What other souvenirs were for sale?

Mitten and his Men

Q.     Name one of the compositions Sousa wrote in honor of Willow Grove Park?

Q.     What is the theme of the second melody?

Q.     What is unusual about the “finale” of the Mitten Men march?

Q.     To increase the popularity of the Mitten march, the title was changed. What was the new title?

Performance Section

Q.     Printed reports indicated that audiences numbering how many were common at the park?

Q.     The post card shows a performance of what probable soloist?

Q.     What band/orchestra leader who performed at the park in 1927 premiered Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”?

Q.     What was special about the American Flag which hung in the band shell?

Q.     In the picture of the orchestra, how can we tell what song on the program has just been played?

Q.     What was different about the message written on post cards between 1901 and 1907?

Q.     How do we know the picture of the conductor and audience was taken at a Sunday performance? Who is pictured?

Q.     Arthur Pryor was a composer and featured soloist in the Sousa Band on what instrument?

Q.     What significant event happened in 1909?

Q.     In the section containing his biographical sketch whose playing was described as: "His execution set the prairies afire; His vibrating pedal tones rattled the windows of the Theatre and killed the gold fishes and stunned the canaries all the way out to the packing plant where even the iron gates trembled."

Q.     How many hours of practice a day was typical for him?

Q.     How old was Pryor when he played his first solo with the Sousa Band during the World

Q.     About how many solos did he perform during the 12 years with the Sousa Band? Pryor was one of two famous ragtime composers. Continue in the section about Pryor’s compositions to continue with your Search and Find.

Q.     One of the famous composers of ragtime was Scott Joplin. In what state did he develop his playing style and go to college?

Q.     What was the first of his compositions, written in 1899, which helped to establish his reputation?

Q.     In advertisements, when he toured the Midwest, how was he billed?

Q.     What were his two other most famous compositions, written in 1901 and 1902?

Q.     While in New York he composed an ambitious opera drawing on folk music themes. What was it called?

Q.     Although it was written in 1915, he was very disappointed because it was not performed during his lifetime. In what year was it first performed?

Q.     Arthur Prior and Scott Joplin both grew up in the area of what rivers?

Q.     What was Joplin’s first major composition?

Q.     What was Pryor’s first famous rag, called the "king of rags" in the 1906 Victor Record catalogue? Check the comparison between Pryor and Joplin for answers to the following questions:

Q.     Joplin and Pryor each performed on a major instrument. What was the instrument of each?

Q.     Whose rags were among those orchestrated for small band in the “Red Back Book”?

Q.     Which of the two composers wrote 2 operas?

Q.     About how many rags were written by both Pryor and Joplin?

Q.     As a style of music ragtime became less popular, Pryor’s rags now are rarely played. Joplin’s rags were used in a movie 1973 starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman which again popularized this style. What was the name of this movie?

Q.     Each performer was recorded by the two different kinds of technology of the day. What were they?

Q.     Joplin’s rags are being currently popular and being republished. What would be the problem with the reprinting of Pryor’s rags?

Q.     Who wrote the music know as the "king of rags" ?

Q.     Who was known as the “King of Ragtime”.

Q.     What was Pryor’s best selling composition?

Q.     How many marches and trombone solos did Pryor write?

Q.     Herbert L. Clarke “assumed a unique and important role at the turn of the 20th Century” playing solos that required great technique. How was this commonly known?

Q.     At Willow Grove, he performed often as a soloist with whose band?

Q.     He also returned as conductor of another band. Where was that band from?

Q.     The extensive biographical sketch states that Clarke toured the entire world once and Europe four times. How many tours of the United States and Canada did he make:

Q.     After the age of 12 the family settled in what City, province and Country?

Q.     Clarke’s first major job with a professional band ended in 1892 with the untimely death of its director. Who was this famous band innovator and director?

Taking the Walk Through the Park
(Visiting the attractions)

Q.     On the picture of the rear of the pavilion, the structure of the exterior of the stage of the pavilion resembled a house. How many floors were there?

Q.     In addition to the trees planted on the grounds, how many assorted shrubbery were also planted?

Q.     What was unusual about the special old willow tree?

Q.     In the panoramic picture from the park letterhead, what is the attraction in the center of the lake?

Q.     The casino was the name of the fanciest restaurant on the grounds. How many guests could be seated and served on the porches?

Q.     What was the dress code?

Q.     It was common for women to wear long, black dresses and corsets to make their waist as small as possible. What was in the center of the park to assist the women?

Q.     Fifty years before similar rides created by the Disney corporation, a boat ride took the rider to various parts of the world. Scenes included, a Philadelphia street scene, a sea battle between Russian and Japanese ships, a beautiful picture of Fairyland, “Land of the Midnight Sun” where the traveler is given a glimpse of the Great North with its icebergs and polar bears, Broadway, in the busy New York, with all its bustling activity, a country circus parade, a wedding in the olden times, and ends at World’s Fair at St. Louis. What is the name of this innovative ride?

Q.     The Unique Coal Mine featured some unique effects which were far ahead of its time. What was so unusual about the coal miners?

Q.     What frightening event takes place as a part of the ride?

Q.     What attraction will present the longest continuous entertainment of its kind ever given in the U.S.?

Q.     Many of these fine musicians then joined a new band being formed in 1893. Who was the conductor of this new band?

Q.     Why did many of the country’s most famous soloists travel and perform with a wide variety of bands, instead of having full-time employment?

Q.     After what age did Clarke stop performing and concentrate on conducting and teaching?

Q.     Clarke died on January 30, 1945 and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC near the grave what lifelong friend?

Q.     Of the 6 six different orchestras which performed at the park, which those led by Walter Damrosch and Victor Herbert were the most popular. How many engagements did these two groups total?

Q.     In the lyrics of his musical, “The Music Man” Meredith Wilson, who had been a flute player for Sousa‘s band, mentions the leader of the Royal Marine Band of Italy. Who was this famous conductor?

Background of Early American Instrumental Music

Concert Music in Barnum's Day
The chapter "When America Was Musically Young" from "Music Comes to America"
By David Ewen

Q.     At the time of the Civil War, instrumental music was used mostly for marching or for dancing. Shortly after the war, (in P. T. Barnum’s day) American orchestras began to travel to smaller towns throughout the country. In David Ewen’s article he writes that: “It was the grumble many who came to attend the orchestral concerts… that the evening fell flat.” What did the audience expect?

Q.     Who was Theodore Thomas?

Q.     Of what importance was Jenny Lind to America’s musical history?

Q.     One of the main reasons today’s audiences attend concerts is to enjoy the beauty of music or the interpretation of the performers. How was it different just after the Civil War and what role did the Peace Jubilees play?

And from the article:
"When America Was Musically Young"

Q.     What famous bandleader, Sousa’s forerunner, who thrilled his public by performing musical compositions that called for bells, anvils, and even actual cannon, and who after the Civil War, began to organize gigantic concerts, the largest involved 2, 000 instrumentalists and 20,000 singers? The following discussion is meant to give a snapshot of a part of America’s musical history of about one hundred years ago. In more recent years with increased sensitivity to others, things, which demean someone else’s feelings or rights, are not acceptable. The minstrel show and blackface, explained earlier, are no longer accepted in today’s society. However, the website at George Mason University asks: “But did it ever really go away? The first talking picture, "The Jazz Singer," (1927) was a blackface film. Both Judy Garland and Bing Crosby did movies with blackface sequences. The bizarre minstrel show might be easier to understand in modern terms. Think of white rappers, or white rock musicians who play blues-derived music. There are many white people who love African American music but don't particularly like black people themselves. When they imitate black musicians, are they expressing admiration, or are they just stealing? Are they sincerely trying to come to some understanding of cultural difference, or are they just engaging in minstrel parody without the make up? Similarly, are black musicians who play to a predominantly white audience, particularly those produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs, doing something similar to what Bert Williams (and early minstrel performers) did?” What are your thoughts on people who perform musical styles which are taken from other cultures – can you name other examples?

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