Stephen Foster youth's golden gleam - online book

His Life And Background In Cincinnati 1846 - 1850 by Raymond Walters

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60               Youth's Golden Gleam
acting of Junius Brutus Booth . . . Edwin Forrest... Mrs. Drake and Mrs. Duff."1
It was as a youth of twenty in Cincinnati that Stephen came into close touch with minstrelsy and the concert stage. This was a heyday for road companies and concert artists. Not only during the usual season but fre­quently in the summer the theaters and con­cert halls had large audiences drawn from the local area and from the travellers passing up and down the river.
There were three or four companies of wide fame in minstrelsy of the 'forties;* Stephen heard all of them and met their performers and managers in Cincinnati. These companies —or bands or troupes, as they were variously called—ran to type in their personnel: five to eight black-face singers and comedians in gaudy costumes. The program they gave was of stock character also: "New songs, Glees, Quartettes, Choruses, Repartees, Witticisms, Burlesques, Dances, etc., etc."2
* "Probably the first public presentation of what may be called a real minstrel show took place in the Bowery Amphitheater in New York City, early in 1843. • • • Christy's Minstrels dispute with the Virginia Minstrels the honor of having staged the first performance in America."—Carl Wittke, I'ambo and Bones y 1930, p. 41. A third claim for this honor would appear to be put forward by "the celebrated and original band of Sable Harmonists, con­sisting of Messrs. J. W. Plumer, J. Tichenor, R. H. Hooley, J. B. Farrell, T. F. Briggs, S. A. Wells and Wm. Roark," who in the Cincinnati "Daily Chronicle of September 4, 1847, advertised that "the greater portion of this company have been organized nearly six years and in that time have travelled over the immense space of Forty Thousand Miles of Territory."

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III