Farmingdale Music Foundation Drew Top Music Talent
by Lucille Rosen
The Farmingdale Music Foundation, Inc. affected the cultural,
social and professional lives of many people during the
1950' s and although its activities in Farmingdale and Long
Island have ceased there are still many examples of its influence
on musicians and music loving people.
Originally incorporated in 1949 its purpose was to further
the appreciation of music and the allied arts. To do this it
presented annual concert series of the finest professional musical
talent, gave the whole community an opportunity to take
part in musical productions and inspired and assisted young
The annual concert series included such " greats" as Miscna
Elman, New York Quartet, Sidney Harth, Vivian Rivkin, Leonard
Rose, New Art Woodwind Quintet, Whittemore and Lowe and
others. In addition Farmingdale was host to the Jean Erdman
Dance Group complete with " Cage" piano and Eddie Condon
and his jazz group.
Utilizing the already organized Women's Chorale and Song Sirs, local singing
groups composed of residents of Farmingdale and the environs as a nucleus, the
Music Foundation drew on the abilities and efforts of many segments of the community
to produce an annual Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of good, professional
Its third aim was accomplished by its annual Auditions for Music Students open
to all Long Island residents under the age of nineteen. These instrumentalists and
vocalists were heard by local judges, who chose five or six finalists. These in turn,
were presented at a public concert, all rewarded with cash prizes and judged by musicians
of international reputation.
In addition Music Appreciation classes were offered without charge to children
and adults by a well known composer and a specialist in musical theory, Mrs. Merle
Who were the people that made all this possible? A total listing of names would
fill a Farmingdale telephone directory of that day. The leaders and most of the active
workers can be recalled. The first Governing Board of the Foundation was as
Officers: Paul A. Erlanson, President; Alfred W. Russell, Vice- President; William
Wesche, Secretary; S. A. Albrecht, Treasurer; Mrs. Harry M. Daniel, Dennis
J. Donegan, Herbert Grundman, weldon E. Howitt, Mrs. Roger Mac Arthur, Frederick
M. Rosen, M. D., William T. Schwendler, Charles Tilgner, Jr., Carl F. We-dell.
Affiliated Organizations: The Song Sirs, The Women's Chorale, The Farmingdale
Later presidents of the Foundation were Alfred Russell, Frederick Hackett and
The Gilbert and Sullivan productions included:
1948 - H M S Pinafore
1949 - Pirates of Penzance
1950 - Mikado ( In addition to its Farmingdale stand, it was presented in Huntington
sponsored by the Women's Club and Service League of Huntington)
1951 - Iolanthe ( also presented in Huntington - same sponsorship as well as at
the St. Albans Naval Hospital)
1952 - The Gondoliers ( also presented at the Malverne H. S. under the sponsorship
of a three village Service League for Mercy Hospital, - as well as in Hunt-
- w i d e s e l e c t i o n o f m u s i c a l instruments
- major s u p p l i e r of school instruments
- e x c e l l e n t t e a c h e r s of h i g h q u a l i ty
- over 300 pupi Is
- c o m p l e t e i n s t r u m e n t a l r e p a ir
6ASTERN eTtfUSIC <$ OX (? ORP.
tlEV ERYTHING MUSICAL''
211 MAIN STREET CHapel 9- 3011 FARMINGDALE
ington, same sponsorship as above)
1953 - Thespis ( lyrics by William S. Gilbert, music by Frank Miller, composer,
cellist, conductor. This was a world premiere, the first complete performance
of this work with costumes, scenery and orchestra.
Under the professional directorship of Ralph and Catherine Riggs, the following
are some of the members of the community who pooled their efforts to make the
productions the successes they were:
Song Sirs: ( Male singing group under
the direction of Paul A. Erlanson
Herbert Grundman, Accompanist)
Roger Mac Arthur
Women's Chorale ( Female singing
group directed by Erna Mae Mac-
Arthur Nettie, Holzman, Accompanist)
Florence Van Nostrand
Jean Van Sinderen
The Farmingdale Orchestra usually recruited some " ringers" to help out. Conducted
by Paul A. Erlanson, local members included: Anna Byrne, Helen Candee,
Joan Gray, Nettie Holzman, Andre Hubbard, Eleanor Meyerstein, Carol Musa, Frederick
Rosen, Gertrude Simmonds, Herbert Grun/ iman, Esta Nelson, Audrey Umbach
Other active people included:
Staging ( the sets were unusually fine) Alonzo and Iris Gibbs, Earl Ramsden.
Lighting: Charles Schmidt, George Johnson.
Makeup: Jean Manker, Betty Miller, Anne Porte
Costumes: Edna Tilgner, Marimar Stewart
Publicity: Lucille Rosen, Chuck Tilgner, Ann Senyk
Miscellaneous jobs: Wharton Allen, William Kinzler, Howard Hogan, Genevieve
Douglass, William Van Arnam, Joseph Stern, Mabel Schwendler
Under the chairmanship of Dr. Frederick Rosen the Auditions for Music Students
grew from forty applicants in 1950 to one hundred ten in 1955, from over 40 Nassau
and Suffolk communities. Early in the Spring, Mrs. MacArthur, Mr. Erlanson and Dr.
Rosen listened, judged and screened all applicants. In addition to encouraging continued
study these sessions provided music students an opportunity to be heard, judged
and to listen to other young musicians from other communities. The winners, presented
at a public concert were judged by such people as: John Castellini. Chairman
of the Music Dep't., Queens College; Lawrnece Rasmussen, Chair. Music Dep't.
AdelDhi Univ.; Theodore Stronein, Music critic of Herald Tribune, now IN. X. limes;
( Continued on page 10)
Powell Cemetery Dates
Back To 1842
by Mrs, Erling Lunde and Mrs, Iris Gibbs
The Powell cemetery on Quaker Meeting House Road dates
back to about 1842. It was then that a member of the family
asked Willets Powell, owner of the land, if he would set a-side
a piece of his farm for burial purposes. This he did,
and it is now the last resting place for generations of Powells.
Willets Powell was born August 15, 1820, was married
in the year 1842, on his birthday, and died July 23, 1863. He
lived in the original Powell house which was located not far
from the present Powell house.
One of the oldest headstones in the cemetery is dated 1846,
but there are older headstones probably dating back to 1843.
Unfortunately they are of white sandstone and the lettering
has been obliterated.
Village Hall, Farmingdale has pictures of various officials who
served the community over the years.
4S' Thursday; March 23) 1967 Farmingdale' Observer Supplement
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