[Philadelphia Academy of Music, 1873 Program:] Forasmuch as Dyvers Syngynge People…

“Auld Lang Syne, By alle ye Synggers” and more…

Delightfully humorous program for a concert of antique music performed at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Likely getting into the spirit of the nation’s impending 1876 Centennial celebration, the producers deliberately created the musical program and its printed program in an old-fashioned style.

Although not a parody, the printed program’s humor derives from a somewhat over wrought interpretation of “ye olde Englishe” style of writing. Its general layout, typography (generous use of long “S”s), orthography (numerous superscripted letters to make abbreviations and Old English spelling, suffixes, etc.), and the use of vegetable parchment to simulate antique animal parchment all lend to the tongue-in-cheek effect.

Annotated in pencil in the top margin of the first page is this note: “Concert given by ‘old folks’ at Academy of Musick April 7,1873.” Even the annotator got into the parody spirit by spelling “music” with a “k” at the end!

Some examples from the text of the program:

Forasmuch as Dyvers Syngynge People, (bothe menne & womenne,) have of late been attunynge theyre voyces unto harmonie, & forasmuch as ye knowledge thereof hath come to certayne of ye townspeople of Phyladelphya…they wyll dyscourse, accordynge unto certayne sette Tunes, dyvers Psalms & Hymns & Spirituall Songes…
Yt ths taxxe wh hath beene fixxede at ye rate of SIXXE (6) Shillynges currency (¾ of a Dollar) per capita, canne br payde att ye shoppe on ye Chestnitte Streete, whre Jonathan Gouldde & hys younge partnere dispenseth Harpsichorddes, Spinnets, Dulcimeres & Tune-bookes.
N. B.—Forasmuche as ye younge women who singe are shamfaste, ye younge menne are desired to loke awaie from them whenne thai singe.
To avoydde heartburnnynge & stryffe amongst ye dryvers, thoe wo comme inn shayes or waggyns hadde welle dyrecte thyre creeturs heddes to be poynted towrds ye Baltimore Carr Sheddes whn thy comme…

The concert appears to have been performed with harpsichords, violins, trumpets, and an organ. It included sacred and secular music, most accompanied by solo singers or an ensemble or chorus, as well as a rendition of an 18th century symphony attributed to Joseph “Papa” Haydn (seen here as “Feytherre Haydn”) —“Ye Chyldrenne’s Symfonye” (Kindersinfonie).

Songs performed include “Auld Lang Syne, By alle ye Synggers,” “Ye Evils of Procrastynatynonne, By Gaffer Rawlungges,” “Sherbourne, By alle ye menne & wommyne at once,” and “Ye Old Hundredthe.”

Except for the pencil annotation, the program does not refer to Philadelphia’s Academy of Music which, despite its name, never had a school. Instead, it refers to the concert venue as “Ye Schoole of Musick.” Perhaps “Academy” was not Anglo-Saxon enough for the parodists?

Description: [Philadelphia Academy of Music, 1873 Program:] Forasmuch as Dyvers Syngynge People…

[Philadelphia.1873.]  “Printed at ye Printing House of Henri B. Ashmeade, wh is sette down on Sansome St.” Concert Program. [4]pp. Bifolium of vegetable parchment paper, partly untrimmed. 8½ x 7¼ inches. Annotated in pencil in the top margin: “Concert given by ‘old folks’ at Academy of Musick April 7th 1873.” Folds; minor loss at tail of spine; very good.


Price: $75.00