Beach School, Mount Vernon, IA



Beach School

1145 Linn Ridge Rd.

Mount Vernon, IA

Beach School is a historic building located off U.S. Route 30 in Linn Township northwest of Mount Vernon, Iowa. Because school district lines had been redrawn, students in this area were forced to attend classes in a building some distance away. Given the condition of rural roads in the late 19th century, that created a hardship for many families.  From 1889 to 1891 the school district set aside funds for a new building, and Benjamin Beach donated land on his farm for the new school. Not only was his farmhouse nearby, but Beach also operated a sawmill along the creek east of the school and a gristmill across the road. The one-room schoolhouse was completed in 1892, and a bell was purchased for the building around 1901. Early drawings of the building show a small bell tower.  The building was used for educational and social use until 1946, and it has subsequently been converted into a rental home. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Sumner Public School, Boonville, MO



Sumner Public School

321 Spruce St.

Boonville, Missouri

Sumner Public School is a historic school building located at Boonville, Cooper County, Missouri. It was built in 1915, and is a two-story, rectangular brick structure with a central projecting bay. The roof is framed by a stepped, corbelled parapet on the front facade. The school served as an African-American public school until converted into apartments known as the Daniel Boone Apartments in 1939-1940.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 16, 1990.

Franz Krommer and Concerto for Two Clarinets


Franz Krommer (November 27, 1759–January 8, 1831) was a Czech composer of classical music and violinist whose 71-year lifespan began half a year after the death of George Frideric Handel and ended nearly four years after that of Ludwig van Beethoven.  Krommer (Czech: František Vincenc Kramář) was born on November 27, 1759, at Kamenice u Jihlavy, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but now in the Czech Republic. From 1773 to 1776, he studied violin and organ with his uncle, Antonín Mattias Kramár, in Turany. Here he became organist along with his uncle in 1777. In 1785 he returned to Vienna as violinist in the orchestra of the duke of Styria, now in Simontornya in Hungary.

In 1790, Krommer was named Maestro di Cappella at the Cathedral of Pécs, Hungary. He returned again to Vienna in 1795, becoming Maestro di Cappella for Duke Ignaz Fuchs in 1798.  In 1813, Krommer succeeded Leopold Kozeluch as composer for the Imperial Court of Austria, serving from 1818 as. Kapellmeister, according to the HOASM biography until his death in 1831.  He may have been Kapellmeister as early as 1814.

Krommer’s output was prolific, with at least three hundred published compositions in at least 110 opus numbers including at least 9 symphonies, seventy string quartets and many others for winds and strings, about fifteen string quintets, and much sonorous, idiomatic and at times powerful music for wind ensemble, for which he is best known today.

Occasionally a system of classification of Krommer’s works is seen in use based on Padrta’s work. For example, the quintet for flute and strings opus 55 in E minor is PadK VII/3, the concerto opus 86 for flute and orchestra (also in E minor, and often played with clarinet solo) is PadK III/16. These examples are taken from the listings at a Czech radio station’s website, which gives both the standard opus numbers (when available) and the newer system (Rozhlas D-Dur).  Krommer died at the age of 71 on January 8, 1831, in Vienna, Austria.

The following works by Franz Krommer are contained in my CD collection:

Concerto for Two Clarinets and Orchestra, op. 35.

Sinfonia Concertante for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, and Orchestra, op. 80.

Sumner School, Boonville, MO


Sumner School, Boonville, MO  1939

Sumner School

1111 Rural Street

Boonville, Missouri

Constructed by the W.P.A. in 1939, the former Sumner School was a historically black school for African-American students in Boonville, MO, and surrounding communities, until desegregation in 1959.  Soon after, it was closed under much protest by its former students.  Boonville Public Schools subsequently sold the building to Guy’s Potato Chips for use as a warehouse.  It is currently occupied by the Concerned Citizens for the Black Community in Boonville.  Originally established in 1980, the C.C.B.C. is committed to improving the community.  In December 1986, as a result of Guy’s Potato Chips deciding to move its operations, the C.C.B.C. purchased the former school, renovated, and transformed it into the CCBC Community Building. This former segregated school is a unique tourist attraction and rare to any community, as it is one of the few former segregated schools in the United States whose cultural and historical significance has not been lost.  The official mission of the C.C.B.C. is “to develop, seek, organize, and/or collaborate in cultural, educational, entrepreneurial, and recreational activities, meant to benefit the present and future quality of life of our community.” In 2011, the members changed its name to the Concerned Citizens for a Better Community of Boonville, Inc.

Robert Kajanus and Finnish Rhapsody


Robert Kajanus (December 2, 1856 – July 6, 1933) was a Finnish conductor, composer and teacher, who, in 1882, founded the Helsinki Orchestral Society, Finland’s first professional orchestra, and as a conductor, was also a notable champion and interpreter of the music of Jean Sibelius. Kajanus was born at Helsinki, Finland, on December 2, 1856, to parents Georg August Cajanus (1812–1888) and Agnes Ottilia Flodin Cajanus (1824–1902).  Kajanus studied music theory with Richard Faltin and violin with Gustaf Niemann in Helsinki, with Hans Richter, Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn in Leipzig, and with Johan Svendsen in Paris. His music drew on the folk legends of the Finnish people.

Kajanus worked in Dresden in the years immediately after his graduation, and returned to Helsinki in 1882. He founded the first permanent orchestra in Finland: the Helsinki Orchestral Society (later to become the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finland’s national orchestra).[1] He brought the orchestra to a very high performance standard very quickly, so that they were able to give quite credible performances of the standard late classical/mid-romantic repertory. Kajanus led the Helsinki Philharmonic for 50 years, and among the milestones of that history was the first performance in Finland of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in 1888.

Kajanus was appointed director of music at the University of Helsinki in 1897 and remained in the post for the next 29 years, a period in which he had a major impact on music education in his native country. Kajanus had a decisive impact upon the development of the career of Jean Sibelius. He was considered an authority on the interpretation of Sibelius’s music, and he and Sibelius were close friends; but this was compromised in 1898 when Sibelius was appointed to a university post for which Kajanus was himself a candidate. Kajanus appealed, and the decision was overturned. However, they reconciled for the orchestra’s tour of Europe in 1900, where they appeared at the Exposition Universelle at the invitation of the French government.

Kullervo, Sibelius’s epic masterpiece, was written in the wake of Kajanus’ symphonic poem Aino although Sibelius denied any exertion of influence of this piece over his own work. Additionally, as a conductor, Kajanus was responsible for commissioning one of Sibelius’ most popular and enduring works, En Saga, following the success of Kullervo. Pohjola’s Daughter was dedicated to Kajanus. When Kajanus took the Helsinki Orchestra on a tour of Europe in 1900 both he and Sibelius conducted, including what proved to be the first performances of Sibelius’s music outside of Finland. This ensured the spread of the young composer’s reputation far beyond the borders of his homeland, the first Finnish composer to receive such attention.

Kajanus was also the founder of the Nordic Music Festival in 1919. He received many decorations, including the French Légion d’honneur.   Kajanus composed over 200 works, of which Aino and the Finnish Rhapsodies are enduringly popular. He also orchestrated the Finnish national anthem, Maamme (Our Country) and Christian Fredric Kress’s Porilaisten marssi (March of the People of Pori), the honor march of the Suomen puolustusvoimat (Finnish Defense Forces) and thus, effectively, the Finnish presidential march.

Kajanus was the first to make recordings of Sibelius’s First, Second, Third and Fifth symphonies and Tapiola. They were recorded in the early 1930s, with the London Symphony Orchestra. The relationship between Kajanus and Sibelius was such that his interpretations of the composer’s music are usually regarded as authentic.  His early-electric 78-rpm atmospheric, authoritative recordings of Sibelius symphonies are still interpretive milestones.  In 1930, the Finnish government and Britain’s EMI-Columbia label, perceiving a potentially wide audience for the composer’s work, jointly arrange to record Sibelius’s first two symphonies, and Kajanus was selected to record both at the insistence of the composer. In 1932 Kajanus recorded Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5, along with orchestral suites and tone poems.

This was a massive recording project for the work of a living composer, and the recordings have been considered definitive for many years and are regarded as necessary listening in the study of Sibelius. Only his death on July 6, 1933, at the age of 76 in Helsinki,, prevented Kajanus from recording all of Sibelius’ Symphonies.  Robert Kajanus was the father of harpists Lilly Kajanus-Blenner (1885–1963) and Aino Kajanus-Mangström (1888–1951), and violinist Kaj Kajanus (1908-1994); the grandfather of award-winning Finnish/Norwegian sculptor Johanna Kajanus; and great-grandfather of pop musician and composer Georg Kajanus, who was famous for a while in Great Britain with his band Sailor which enjoyed chart success in the mid-1970s.

My CD collection includes the following works by Robert Kajanus:

Aino, Symphonic Poem for Male Chorus and Orchestra (1885/1916).

Finnish Rhapsody No. 1 in dm, op. 5 (1881).

Kullervo’s Funeral March, op. 3 (1880).

Sinfonietta in BbM, op. 15 (1915).

McsBurg Schoolhouse, Olney, IL



McsBurg Schoolhouse

330 S. Kitchell St.

Olney, Illinois 62450

The historic McsBurg Schoolhouse at the corner of Elm and Kitchell in Olney, IL, allows visitors to take a trip back to the way childhood education was in the 19th century.  This building, constructed in 1874-75, is a successor to a primitive log structure that housed one of the first four schools in existence in the area when Richland County was officially formed in 1841.  This current structure was originally located 4 miles north-northeast of Olney, at the intersection of what is now North Silver Road and East Tank Farm Lane. Records show the largest number of students attending McsBurg School was 40, in 1913-14.  The school closed its doors at the end of the 1943-44 term, due to shrinking enrollment (eight pupils) and the approaching mandated county-wide consolidation of schools.  In 1947, the building became a summer cabin for a local family, who later (1964) donated it to the Olney Garden Club for restoration and relocation to the Olney City Park.  In 2015, the Garden Club deeded the schoolhouse to the Richland Heritage Museum Foundation, which performed a second restoration and moved the building to its current site, next to the Heritage House Museum.  There are 22 student desks (from large to small), a teacher’s desk and chair, a recitation bench, a stove, and a bookcase – the standard furnishings for a rural school in the early twentieth century, plus a wood box, a water bucket and dipper, coat hooks on the wall, a set of wall maps, pictures of Washington and Lincoln, an American flag and a bell to ring to call the children to class—and even a hickory stick!  According to the book, “Before the Big Yellow Bus: remembering the one-room schools of Richland County, Illinois,” the McsBurg School was one of 87 schools in operation in the county in the 1920s.  At their peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an estimated 65,000 one-room schools dotted the Midwestern countryside, contributing greatly to the improvement of rural life in America.

Boyes School, Boyes, MT



Boyes School

Highway 212

Boyes, MT

Boyes is an unincorporated community in southwestern Carter County, Montana.. It lies along U.S. Route 212 southwest of the town of Ekalaka, the county seat of Carter County.  Although Boyes is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 59316. The post office was established in 1906.  The town was named for Harry Boyes, an early homesteader. It was originally located at the head of Scott Creek. In 1931 it was moved to be closer to U.S. Route 212.  Boyes school, now closed, is like pretty much everything else in this hamlet at the western end of Carter County.  This school is a classic example of the one-room schools of the homesteading era.  It faces south, with its band of windows facing east, better to capture as much sunlight as possible since it was built in the era before electricity served this section of Montana.