First school, Amherst, OH


Amherst, OH, first school

278-280 Church St.

Amherst, OH

This is a brief but as complete as possible history of what is among the oldest buildings still standing in the original downtown Amherst, OH, area. Amherst’s first Town Hall, built about 1830, was moved from its original location and is now next to the current movie theater. Amherst Historian Bertine Foster said that the first Town Hall was originally an old two-story house. Justice of the Peace and the founder of Amherst’s original downtown district, Josiah Harris, owned that building in the early years, then located on original town lot #1 near the present sandstone Amherst Town Hall, on Beaver Court.  Early on, Wolcott and Hall operated a harness shop on the first floor of the old wooden frame structure, and the second floor soon accommodated a lecture room or schoolroom, and the Village’s first Town Hall or government office, before the town was officially incorporated. The Congregational Church Society was organized December 2, 1834, and for a period of a few years, their meetings were held in the Village Schoolhouse or first Town Hall building. Then in the winter of 1838-39, the first Congregational Church was erected.  In 1849 a fire in the “old Town Hall school” as it was called at that time, destroyed the top floor. This floor was repaired a year later. Another fire again wrecked this upper floor, and this time it was not replaced.  Amherst Historian Mrs. F. R. Powers noted that this building was used as a school on its original site until 1849 when it was moved to its present location (278-280 Church St.) and used as the first “centralized school.” In 1849 a Mr. Horn, who was later an Amherst postmaster, bought the building and had it moved to Church Street where it is located today. It continued to remain a one-story affair.  This wood frame building was further used as a school until 1856, when the first Central School (Union) was built – a brick school house measuring 25’ x 40.’  Therefore, Amherst’s first centralized union school house was located in this old town hall building.  In 1994 the Amherst Historical Society recognized the structure as a historic landmark. Because of alterations to the building over the years, and the fact that it has been moved off its original foundation, its overt historic integrity has been challenged. However, it was decided by the Amherst Historical Society Preservation Committee that the structure qualified as an historic landmark. Not only very early decisions for the fledgling village of Amherst came out of this building, but also decisions for the whole township were made here in the early years.   The building was offered to the Amherst Historical Society in 2015, to be moved to the Historical Society grounds.

Vincas Kudirka and the Lithuanian National Anthem

Vincas Kudirka

Vincas Kudirka (December 31, 1858-November 16, 1899) was a  Lithuanian doctor, prose writer, poet, publisher, critic, translator, editor of the newspaper “Varpa,” one of the founders of the Lithuanian national movement, and author of the Lithuanian anthem.  Born at Paežeriai in the Paežeriai rural municipality, Lithuania, on December 31, 1858, Kudirka studied at the Paežeriai Primary School , where he was distinguished by all kinds of talents. After completing elementary school in 1871, he entered the Marijampolė Gymnasium.  After completing six classes, he joined the Seynos Priesthood Seminary where he studied for two years but was eliminated due to a “lack of vocation.”

The first Lithuanian work by Kudirka was in 1885. “Ausra” published an insignificant satirical poem “Why do not Jews eat pork?” He was arrested, imprisoned, and removed from the College of Medicine at the University of Warsaw in the same year.  In 1887 he returned to the University, from which he graduated in 1889.   In 1888 he founded the illegal Lithuanian Student Society of Warsaw.  That year, he wrote the original poem “Beautiful, Beautiful and Beautiful” as an improvisation on the occasion of the founding of the Lithuanian Society.  The following year the Society began to publish the “Varpa,” which he edited for several years and wrote the “Homeland Bells” section.

In 1890, along with the “Varpa,” the newspaper “Ūkininkas” was published for peasants by Kudirka’s initiative.   From 1890 to 1894 he worked as a physician in Sakiai.  At Sakiai he brought together a ensemble of string instruments and got acquainted with the young widow V. Kraševskiene, who became his loyal and beloved co-author and later his patron.  In 1895 he was again arrested for pro-Lithuanian activities, but released soon. His health weakened in 1895 and he went to Sevastopol in 1896 but      returned to Lithuania in the spring.  He died at the age of 40 on November 16, 1899, at Vilkaviškis  in  county Naumiestis, Lithuania, on November 16 , 1899, and his remains were buried in Meishte Cemetery.

My collection includes the following work by Vincas Kudirka:


Erich Wolfgang Korngold and the Captain Blood Overture


Erich Wolfgang Korngold (May 29, 1897 – November 29, 1957) was an Austrian-born American composer and conductor, who not only was a noted pianist and composer of classical music, but also  became one of the most important and influential composers in the history of Hollywood,  the first composer of international stature to write Hollywood film scores.  Korngold was born to a Jewish family in Brünn, Austria-Hungary (present-day Brno, Czech Republic), the second son of eminent music critic Julius Korngold. A child prodigy living in Vienna, he could play four-hand piano arrangements alongside his father at age five. He was also able to reproduce any melody he heard on the piano, along with playing complete and elaborate chords. By the time he was seven he was writing original music.  Korngold played his cantata Gold for Gustav Mahler in 1909; Mahler called him a “musical genius” and recommended he study with composer Alexander von Zemlinsky. Richard Strauss also spoke highly of the youth, and along with Mahler told Korngold’s father there was no benefit in having his son enroll in a music conservatory since his abilities were already years ahead of what he could learn there.

At the age of 11 Korngold composed his ballet Der Schneemann (The Snowman), which became a sensation when performed at the Vienna Court Opera in 1910, including a command performance for Emperor Franz Josef.   He continued composing with great success throughout his teens.  He composed a piano trio, then his Piano Sonata No. 2 in E major, which Artur Schnabel played throughout Europe.  During these early years he also made live-recording player piano music rolls for the Hupfeld DEA and Phonola system and also the Aeolian Duo-Art system, which survive today and can be heard.  Korngold wrote his first orchestral score, the Schauspiel Ouverture when he was 14. His Sinfonietta appeared the following year, and his first two one-act operas, Der Ring des Polykrates and Violanta, in 1914.  In 1916, he wrote incidental music to various chamber works and songs, including Much Ado About Nothing, which ran for some 80 performances in Vienna.

Korngold was active in the theatre throughout Europe while in his 20s. After the success of his opera, Die tote Stadt, which he conducted in many opera houses, he developed a passion for the music of Johann Strauss, Jr., and managed to exhume a number of lost scores.  He orchestrated and staged them using new concepts.  Both A Night in Venice and Cagliostro in Vienna are Kornfield re-creations, and it these works that first drew the attention of Max Reinhardt to Korngold.  By this point Korngold had reached the zenith of his fame as a composer of opera and concert music. Composers such as Richard Strauss and Giacomo Puccini heaped praise on him, and many famous conductors, soloists and singers added his works to their repertoires. He began collaborating with Reinhardt on many productions, including a collection of little-known Strauss pieces that they arranged and titled Waltzes From Vienna.  It was retitled The Great Waltz and became the basis for a 1938 British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and a film by the same name in the U.S, starring Luise Rainer. Korngold conducted staged versions in Los Angeles in 1949 and 1953.

Korngold completed a Concerto for Piano Left Hand for pianist Paul Wittgenstein in 1923 and his fourth opera, Das Wunder der Heliane four years later.  In 1924, Korngold married Luzi (Louise) von Sonnenthal (1900–1962), granddaughter of actor Adolf von Sonnenthal, an actress, writer, singer and pianist, with whom he had fallen in love at age 19, and they had two children, Ern[e]st Werner and Georg[e] Wolfgang.   By 1931 he was a professor of music at Vienna State Academy.  He started arranging and conducting operettas by Johann Strauss II and others while teaching opera and composition at the Vienna Staatsakademie. Korngold was awarded the title professor honoris causa by the president of Austria.  After Max Reinhardt’s success in producing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the stage, using incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn, and due to the rise of the Nazi regime, he invited Korngold to Hollywood in 1934 to adapt Mendelssohn’s score for his planned film version.  Korngold would also enlarge and conduct the score.  The film, which was released in 1935, was a first for Warner Brothers studio, by producing a film based on a 400-year-old work of literary art. As a result of the score’s elaborate tailoring, the film and Korngold’s music left a strong impression on the film industry.  Korngold returned to Austria to finish Die Kathrin. He came back to Hollywood to score the film Give Us This Night, with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, a film which introduced mezzo-soprano Gladys Swarthout and the Polish-born tenor Jan Kiepura, who had starred in several Korngold operas in Europe.

In 1935 Warners asked Korngold if he was interested in writing an original dramatic score for Captain Blood. He at first declined, feeling that a story about pirates was outside his range of interest. However, after watching the filming, with a dynamic new star, Errol Flynn in a heroic role, alongside Olivia de Havilland, who had her debut in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he changed his mind.  After he accepted, however, he learned that he needed to compose over an hour of symphonic music in only three weeks. The short time frame forced him to include about ten percent of the score using portions of symphonies by Franz Liszt. And not willing to take credit for the entire film score, he insisted that his credit be only for “musical arrangement.”  Captain Blood became an immediate hit, with an Oscar nomination for the score.   As Korngold’s first fully symphonic film score, it marked a milestone in his career, as he became the first composer of international stature to sign a contract with a film studio.   It also launched the career of Flynn and gave a major boost to de Havilland’s, who did another seven movies with Flynn. Korngold scored six more films starring Flynn. In addition, Captain Blood opened the way for other costumed, romantic adventures, which hadn’t been seen since the silent era.

After scoring Anthony Adverse, another Warners picture, this one starring Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland, for which Korngold was awarded his first Academy Award, Korngold’s career in Hollywood developed quickly.  In 1938, Korngold was conducting opera in Austria when he was asked by Warner Brothers to return to Hollywood and compose a score for The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.   Before Korngold began composing the score, Austria was invaded by Germany and annexed by the Nazis. His home in Vienna was confiscated by the Nazis.  And because it meant that all Jews in Austria were now at risk, Korngold stayed in America.   Korngold noted that the opportunity to compose the score for Robin Hood saved his life.  It also gave him his second Academy Award for Best Original Score.  Other scores include Juarez (1939) and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939).   The Sea Hawk (1940) was Korngold’s last score for swashbuckler films, all of which had starred Errol Flynn.  In scoring The Sea Wolf (1941), based on a story by Jack London, Korngold’s film career went in a different direction.

Kings Row (1942) was followed by The Constant Nymph (1943), Between Two Worlds (1944), Devotion (1946), Of Human Bondage (1946), Deception (1946), Escape Me Never (1947), Adventures of Don Juan (1948, unused score), and Magic Fire (1956). For Magic Fire, he was asked to adapt the music of Richard Wagner for a film biography of the composer. Korngold wrote some original music for the film and is seen during the final scenes in an unbilled cameo as the conductor Hans Richter.  In 1943, Korngold became a naturalized citizen of the United States.  Overall, he wrote the score for 16 Hollywood films.  During his years scoring films, he still composed some non-film works, such as Passover Psalm, Opus 30, for chorus and orchestra (1941); Tomorrow When You Have Gone, Opus 33, for chorus and orchestra (1942); and Prayer, Opus 32 for chorus and orchestra (1942).  In 1946 he composed an opera, Die Stumme Serenade, which he recorded privately hoping to attract interest in making a full production.

Around the time World War II in Europe drew to an end, at this stage in his career Korngold had grown increasingly disillusioned with Hollywood and with the kinds of pictures he was being given, and he was eager to return to writing music for the concert hall and the stage.  Since World War II prevented him from returning to Europe, he stayed in the U.S. after retiring from film composing in 1947. He spent the last ten years of his life composing concert pieces, including a Violin Concerto, a Symphonic Serenade for strings, a Cello Concerto and a Symphony. At the time of his death, he was working on his sixth opera.  Korngold died at his home in Toluca Lake, California, aged 60, on November 29, 1957. He lived a few blocks from Warner Brothers Studio, where he worked. He was survived by his wife, two sons, his mother Mrs. Josephine Korngold, a brother Hans Korngold, and three grandchildren.[67] His remains were interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The following work by Erich Korngold is contained in my collection:

Captain Blood (1935): Overture.

Heinrich Konietzny and “Variations on an Ancient French Folksong”


Heinrich Josef Konietzny (May 7, 1910 – April 23, 1983) was a German musician, professor, and composer.  Konietzny was born on May 7, 1910, in Gliwice, Germany, the son of a Prussian Silesian military officer and socialist mayor. He gathered his first musical experiences on the mandolin, in singing and playing percussion instruments. In the year 1918, at the age of eight, he began his studies on the violin. At nine years old, he became student of the Konvikt of Bad Ziegenhals, where he chanted in a choir and received his first systematic education in music theory.   At the age of 17 he became concert master in the so-called Kurorchester of Bad Kudowa. In the year 1929 he became concert master of the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra. A broken left hand after an accident finished his career as a violinist in 1930. Following the advice of Hindemith, he began to study the bassoon in the same year.

Beginning in the year 1930 Konietzny studied composition in the class of Paul Hindemith at the University of Music Berlin, Germany (Staatliche Musikhochschule Berlin). In the years from 1933 to 1936 Konietzny played the bassoon in several professional orchestras. 1934 Konietzny met Hugo Distler who had a major impact on Konietzny’s style of composing.  From 1936 to 1939 Konietzny held a permanent position as solo bassoon player in the symphonic radio orchestra of the Reichssender Saarbrücken (today: Saarländischer Rundfunk). In the years 1939 to 1945 he had to join the German army in World War II. In 1946 he became first bassoon player in the symphony orchestra of the radio station of Saarbrücken (Saarländischer Rundfunk) andheld this position until 1964. Parallel to this activity he also conducted a woodwind ensemble of the same orchestra.

In 1947 Konietzny became an instructor at the Konservatorium Saarbrücken (University of Music Saarbrücken, today: Hochschule für Musik Saar). He was leader of the master class for composition, instrumentation and chamber music. He wrote six symphonies and more than 300 scores for radio plays and movies. Additionally he composed works for plucked string instruments in which he developed new sounds and ways to express musical ideas on these instruments.   From 1949 to 1975, Konietzny was the main composer and lector of the radio station of Saarbrücken.  He was very productive with approximately 500 to 600 pieces of music. Besides the six symphonies and scores for movies and radio plays, he wrote one percussion symphony; several string quartets; 25 concertos; chamber music for a great variety of instruments, often in quite unusual combinations such as voice and percussion; several pieces of ballet music; and about 200 songs and cantatas. For several songs Konietzny also wrote the lyrics.

Besides that, Konietzny composed numerous works for amateur musicians: pieces for accordion, woodwind and brass instruments and about 40 compositions for plucked strings.   A complete index of Konietzny’s works doesn’t exist. He didn’t number his works, and a lot of autographs are lost. Therefore, the total number of Konietzny’s works can only be roughly estimated.  A total of 42 autographs are collected in the Landesarchiv Saarbrücken in Saarbrücken, Germany. Konietzny’s works have been published by mostly German companies.  The documentary motion picture “Neue Musik” (Contemporary Music), directed by Manfred Heikaus and produced by the Saarländischer Rundfunk in the 60’s gives insight in the creative work of the composer, who died on April 23, 1983 in Saarbrücken-Dudweiler, Germany.

My collection includes the following work by Heinrich Konietzny:

Variations on an Ancient French Folksong for Solo Mandolin and Plucked Orchestra.

We Need Less School, Not More

We Need Less School, Not More

By John Taylor Gatto (The Link: Volume 4, Issue 1)

Image result for john taylor gatto

A surprising number of otherwise sensible people find it hard to see why the scope and reach of our formal schooling networks should not be increased — by extending the school day or year, for instance — in order to provide an economical solution to the problems posed by the decay of the American family. One reason for their preference, I think, is that they have trouble understanding the real difference between communities and networks.

Because of this confusion, they conclude that replacing a bad network with a good one is the right way to go. Since I disagree so strongly with the fundamental premise that networks are workable substitutes for families, and because from anybody’s point of view a lot more school is going to cost a lot more money, I thought I’d tell you why, from a schoolteacher’s perspective, we shouldn’t be thinking of more school, but of less.

Read More:

John N. Klohr and “The Billboard March”


John Nicholas Klohr (July 27, 1869 – February 17, 1956) was an American composer of band music. Klohr was born on July 27, 1869, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A graduate of the Cincinnati public schools, Klohr set upon a career in music, especially vaudeville. He was a vaudeville trombonist by trade, but also performed as a member of Cincinnati’s musical life. He played in the Syrian Temple Shrine Band, led by fellow composer Henry Fillmore. His most famous march, “The Billboard March,” is a circus march written in 1901, and dedicated to the Billboard music-industry magazine. Its tune is widely known among Americans, and it has been repeatedly used in mass media, even though its title is little known.

From 1921 to 1926, Klohr was a trombonist in Henry Fillmore’s concert band. He was a member of the Syrian Temple for over fifty years, as well as a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Klohr was also an early member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and worked as editor of the band and orchestra department of the John Church Company, a music publisher in Cincinnati. Klohr died of a heart attack on February 17, 1956, in Cincinnati, and his remains were buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Cincinnati.

The following work by John N. Klohr is contained in my collection:

The Billboard March.

Concord School, Sugar Tree Ridge, OH


Concord Township School

2281 State Route 136

Sugar Tree Ridge, Ohio

Sugar Tree Ridge is an unincorporated community in Highland County, in the U.S. state of Ohio.  It is the seat of Concord Township.  A post office called Sugar Tree Ridge was established in 1837.   The community was named for a ridge with many sugar maple trees near the original town site.  The Concord Township School was built in 1930 when all the one-room school districts in the township were consolidated.  After the township joined to form the Bright Local School District, the building was used as an elementary school for several years.  Eventually, a new elementary school was built.  The old building was closed and now sits abandoned.