Theodore Moses Tobani and “A Trip to Coney Island”

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Theodore Moses Tobani (May 2, 1855 − December 12, 1933) was a German-American composer and arranger of popular music.  Tobani was born Theodore Moses on May 2, 1855, in Hamburg, Germany, the son of Josef Moses, a cigar manufacturer, and Marianne Wède Moses.  He began violin studies at the age of three and by five was playing violin on horseback in a circus.  Around that time, the family moved to the United States, where he attended the Rivington School in New York City, NY, but they returned to Europe in order to provide him a thorough musical education when it became evident that Theodore was a musical prodigy. He was a concert violinist by the time he was ten, playing solo violin with a company that toured Europe, even performing before the Pope.
A year later Tobani’s father permitted him to accept an engagement in the Hamburg Stadttheater orchestra, and he began studying other instruments. For the next four years he studied piano and harmony with Julius von Bernuth, conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic, and the art of phrasing with August Schäffer in Berlin. Tobani completed his studies in 1870 under Ferdinand David of Leipzig, then considered the finishing school of the most talented violinists in Europe.  The family returned to the U.S. in 1871, and Theodore took positions as a violinist in several groups.. In June Tobani joined the Music Mutual Protective Union and accepted an engagement as first violin at Simpson’s Theater on North Ninth and Arch streets, in Philadelphia, PA. One evening the regular conductor was taken ill, and the sixteen-year-old Tobani, quite to his surprise, was asked to substitute. He acquitted himself so well that he was asked to take full charge of the orchestra until the end of the season.  From 1872 to 1874 he was first violinist in the orchestra of Wallack’s Theatre in New York City.

As a composer, Tobani wrote “Our Little Nestling”, in 1883 for Mrs. Lester Wallack, for which he was paid $35.  His best known composition was “Hearts and Flowers,” which he composed in half an hour in 1893 using a tune by Hungarian composer Alphons Czibulka, and which continued to sell more than 100,000 copies annually until the end of his life. He was so prolific that his publisher, Carl Fischer, insisted that he use multiple pseudonyms such as Andrew Herman; Fischer was concerned that nobody would believe how much Tobani was composing.  He also composed “Around the Christmas Tree,” subtitled “A Yule-Tide Potpourri,” which was later arranged for band by Louis-Philippe Laurendeau.  Tobani was also a real estate dealer and owned property in Queens, NY. He died there on December 12, 1933.  Seven children survived him, but his wife, Helen, had died some time earlier.

.     The following works by Theodore Moses Tobani are contained in my collection:

Columbus, Grand Descriptive Fantasia (1898).

A Trip to Coney Island, Serio-Comic Fantasia (1889).


Albert C. Sweet and the “Ringling Brothers Grand Entry”


Albert C. Sweet (July 7, 1876 – May 12, 1945) was an American composer, conductor, and cornetist .  Born on July 7, 1876, in Dansville, New York, Sweet got his first music lessons when he was seven years old from his father on the violin. At the age of ten he received lessons for the Eb Cornet, and four years later he played in the band of the Stowe Brothers Circus, which was conducted by Monty Long , also a cornet player. Long recommended him the Bb Cornet. After this engagement with the circus band he went from one engagement to another and from city to city. He played as a street musician and many times he had just enough money to eat and drink.

In 1896 during a trip to New York City, Sweet became acquainted with William Paris Chambers, who offered him to train him at no cost. His cornet playing soon became better, and he was so capable that he performed as a soloist in several New York bands in 1897 and 1898. In the winter he played in the theater orchestras. From 1899 to 1904 he was cornet soloist of the Edison Phonograph Company and played several solos such as Arbucklenian Polka by John Hartmann, Grand Russian Fantasia by Jules Levy, and Maritana In Happy Moments by William Vincent Wallace .

At the turn of the century Sweet conducted a harmony orchestra Singing Band, which, in their performances, presented singing of the members and of soloists with accompaniment of the orchestra. He continued to work as a cornet virtuoso and as conductor of various concert bands such as from 1905 to 1911 of the Show Band for the Ringling Brothers Circus.  During this time he took Joe Basile as cornet soloist and second conductor. As a composer he mainly wrote works for wind orchestra, such as The Battle of San Juan Hill – Grand Descriptive Military Fantasy in 1909, and the Ringling Brothers Grand Entry in 1911.

Sweet then became conductor of the Colorado Midland concert band in Denver from 1912 to 1914.  Before the First World War he organized concerts and soloed with the concert band known as His White Hussars, sometimes called “Dunbars’s White Hussars,” which traveled the Chautauqua circuit, played vaudeville, and later formed a large concert band in 1933.  With this orchestra, which was now called Al Sweet and His Military and Singing Band, he performed a concert at the World Fair in 1933 in Chicago. Later the orchestra exchanged uniformity in white trousers and black jackets. Sweet died in Chicago, IL, on May 12, 1945, at the age of 68 years.

.     My collection includes the following work by Albert C. Sweet:

The Battle of San Juan Hill, Grand Descriptive Military Fantasia (1909).

Ringling Brothers Grand Entry (1911).

Charles Storm and the “Hagenbeck-Wallace Grand Entry”


Charles Wedzell Storm (Dec. 23, 1877 – May 24, 1965) was an American composer, conductor, and cornetist . Born on December 23, 1877, in Lexington, Kentucky, Storm belonged to several circus bands. A highlight was that he became a member of the famous concert band of John Sousa.  In 1920 he founded his own concert band in Lexington, Kentucky.   As a composer he mainly wrote marches and other pieces for this medium.  Storm passed away on May 24, 1965, in Lexington.

.     The following work by Charles Storm is contained in my collection:

Hagenbeck-Wallace Grand Entry (1930).

Traveling Through Teenland

Traveling Through Teenland
by Todd Wilson

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families.

“Uuuuuuuh . . . Uuuuuh!”

“No, you can’t have the red cup. You get the blue cup.”

“Wed cup!”

“You can’t have the red cup. You get the blue cup or you can go without a cup.”


“Stop right now, or we’ll make a trip into the bathroom.”


Ahhh, those were the days, looking into the face of my toddler squirming in his high chair, obviously not happy with life or me because he got the blue cup.

Those days were exhausting, and sometimes we thought those toddlers would never grow up. But you know what? They did. And on the way to adulthood they passed through . . . Teenland: a wild and exciting place where everything changes daily. One day the world is smiling, and the next day the world is dark and brooding.

I’ve heard some folks piously say that Teenland is a new phenomenon and that in the old days children passed effortlessly from childhood to adulthood without passing through the teenage years. My response to that: “Baloney!”

The word teenager might be a modern word, but the struggle in training children during those awkward years has been around since the time of Cain and Abel.

Read the full article here:

Thomas H. Rollinson and “The Hunting of the Snark”


Thomas H. Rollinson (January 4, 1844 – June 23, 1928) was an American composer, conductor, and cornetist.  Rollison, whose family had emigrated from England around 1830 to the United States, was born on January 4, 1844, in Massachusetts.  In 1853 his family left for Willimantic , Connecticut   Thomas played cornet there in the Willimantic Brass Band .  Rollinson studied music at the Providence Conference Seminary at East Greenwich in Kent County, Rhode Island, with cornet as his main subject.  He graduated in 1865 and later started working on classical pieces and composing his own works. For certain works he used as a composer the pseudonym: Rollin Thomson.

Rollinson wrote his first composition for wind orchestra in 1868, and in 1872 he became conductor of the Willimantic Brass Band.  In this position he remained for ten years.   At the same time he was an instructor, a cornettist, and an organist.  In 1882 he became a solo cornettist in the Boston Cadet Band, then under the direction of Thomas Baldwin.  From 1883 to 1892 he was conductor of the Waltham Watch Company Band at Waltham, Massachusetts.  This band was also regimental chapel of the First Cavalry Regiment of Massachusetts and accompanied several step marches and parades of the regiment.  Rollinson played his cornet on his horse.

From 1887 Rollinson worked for the music publisher Oliver Ditson Company as arranger and was responsible for wind orchestra and orchestral music.   As an arranger he published around 1200 pieces, and as a composer he wrote 478  of his own works.  He wrote quadrilles, polkas, waltzes, airs, overtures, romances, fantasies, polonaises, and mazurkas for wind band.  In addition, he wrote methods for almost every wind instrument, doing this kind of work until his death on June 23, 1928, at Waltham, Massachusetts.

.     My collection includes the following work by Thomas H. Rollinson:

The Hunting of the Snark, An Epical Parody in Six Cantos (1903).

Old one-room school house, Franklin, OH


Thompson Memorial Primitive Baptist Church

6010 Franklin-Lebanon Rd. (Rt. 123)

Franklin, OH 45005

The Thompson Memorial Primitive Baptist Church sits on Franklin Lebanon Road in Franklin, Ohio.   It was an old one-room school house before it became a church. Wilson Thompson and his son Grigg Thompson pioneered this church for 30 years.  Eddie K. Garrett Sr. served the Thompson Memorial Church in Franklin, Ohio, throughout his entire ministry. John Davenport has been the minister here since 2015.


Ricardo Rodilo and “The Orange Vendor “


Ricardo Rodilo, to whom is credited “The Orange Vendor ,“ or “Etrange Tango” (“Strange Tango”), may be a pseudonym for a French composer and pianist also known as Pierre Dreyfus and/or Pierre Dorsey.  He is most likely not Pierre Léon Dreyfus, who was born at Ile-de-France in Paris, France, on April 5, 1891, the son of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish artillery officer whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas, known today as the Dreyfus affair, in modern French history with a wide echo in all Europe, and died on December 28, 1946, at Newmarket on Fergus in Clare, Ireland.  Pierre Dorsey, the songwriter, is remembered for his adaptation in French of “Blowin ‘in the Wind” (1962), by Bob Dylan, under the title “Listen to the Wind” in 1964, for Richard Anthony, glamorous star of the time. Dorsey leaves no trace of his private life.   However, two personalities from the world of French variety, Pierre Dorsey providing the music and Maurice Pon (b. 1921) the lyrics, created “SRAM and the Flying Saucer,” an original science fiction tale for children of the sixties about a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object).  The two met as part of their professions and combined their talents in the late 1960s to record several albums for youth.  “SRAM and the Flying Saucer” was pressed twice, a few years apart, in two formats.  In both cases, the dates were not specified.  It was in the second half of the 1960s that the album appeared for the first time, at the International Record Guild (GID).  After a rich catalog of classical music, GID created a so-called pedagogical collection, still in this classic repertoire, for children, “La Ronde des Enfants,” in 1964. SRAM was certainly conceived soon afterwards.  “Two children from a village in southwestern France are in the presence of a mysterious machine from another planet. With the help of two journalists and a young woman, they try to unravel the mystery … What will happen to them?” SRAM was written to serve as a frame for the adventures of Jo Rafale, a gibberish and enthusiastic Parisian reporter, surrounded by his faithful team, in the fashion of journalists who, since the 1920s, jumped on the train or car for continued sensational information wherever it arises.  It seems, moreover, that it was planned to make series if we believe the subtitle on the back of the cover: “1st episode.” Just a few years later, in the 1970s, Pon created a new label, Mirliton Productions Sonores, records for youth. Under this label, he again worked with Pierre Dorsey to perform sung adaptations of classic tales, Sleeping Beauty or Little Red Riding Hood, for example. The new label was probably able to recover the rights on SRAM , thanks to the lack of success of the album at GID, whose first vocation remained the diffusion of works solidly anchored in the classical repertoire. Pierre Dorsey is also credited as a film and television soundtrack composer for Les maîtres-nageurs (1951), Eurovision Song Contest: Grand Prix (1960), Das Rätsel der grünen Spinne (1960), Toute la Chanson TV Series (1960), Ich bin Vicky Leandros TV Movie (1970), and Dimanche Martin TV Series (1981).  He also released several albums in the 1950s and 1960s of Piano Blues and Jazz.

.     The following work by Ricardo Rodilo is contained in my collection:

The Orange Vendor