Sunday, June 8, 2014

Haydn Quartet -- "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet" (1909)

Through the field of clover
We'll drive up to Dover
On our golden wedding day

In the last 2 or 3 lines, I told you about "The Butterfly Effect" mural, which I saw on my last trip to my hometown -- Joplin, Missouri.  Click here if you haven't already read that post.

After looking at "The Butterfly Effect," I continued down Main Street and stumbled upon the dedication ceremony for another mural located at 8th and Main:

Here's a link to a local TV news report on the mural dedication ceremony, which includes an interview with artist Garin Baker.  

Like ancient Gaul, Baker's mural -- titled "Celebrating the Performing Arts in Joplin" -- est divisa in partes tres.  

The left-hand part of the mural depicts the Club Theatre, a 1400-seat theatre which opened in 1891:

Click here to read an account of the Club Theatre on the "Historic Joplin" website.  

The Club Theatre
The center of the mural shows the Fox Theatre, a lavish movie palace that seated almost 2000 patrons and opened in 1930:

The Fox, where I saw a number of movies when I was growing up in Joplin, closed in 1970 and is now owned by a church.

Click here to read more about the history of the Fox Theatre.

The right-hand panel of the mural depicts several young ballerinas, who symbolize the future of the performing arts in Joplin:

Here's a closer view of that portion of the mural:

Click here to read the artist's account of the creation of this mural.

Percy Wenrich, who was born in Joplin, in 1887, was one of the most successful composers of popular music of his generation.  His hit songs included "Moonlight Bay," "When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose," and "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet."

Here's a photo of the young Wenrich, whose nickname was "The Joplin Kid":

"Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet" became Joplin's official song in 1951, a year before Wenrich died.  At the same time, the city named a hill on Main Street "Dover Hill" in honor of Wenrich.  (According to a contemporary newspaper report, the Dover Hill referenced in Wenrich's song was actually a few miles west of Joplin, near the Kansas line.)

Here's a 1909 recording of "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet" by the Haydn Quartet, which was perhaps the most popular recording groups of the early 20th century.  The group's other hits included "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and "By the Light of the Silv'ry Moon."

It's probably a safe bet that this will be the oldest song ever featured on 2 or 3 lines.  But you never know.

Click below to buy a copy of that recording from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. Wenrich is buried at the cemetery next to my house. It has it's own railing and elevated family space. I think it may be the only one in the Fairview Cemetery set apart that way.