The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York on September 11, 1927 · Page 93
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York · Page 93

Brooklyn, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 11, 1927
Page 93
Start Free Trial

Tage Twelve Has Composed 4,000 Anthems V1 'r y Mrs. Carrie B. Adams Has Written More Church Mtisic Than Any Other Woman in the World it 1 - 4.- Mrs. Adams may place herself among those fortunate few who have enjoyed this experience. A ay back in 1905 she composed an anthem, "Remember Now Thy Creator," and sold ft to music company at Logans port, Ind. As full payment for the .1 Mrs- Carrie B. A Jams Wlliam A. Warren. By she began composing musical monologues, playing them for the neighborhood children. A year later another move was made, this time to Paris, 111., where she assisted her father in musical Institutes, teaching piano, organ . and harmony when she was still but fourteen years of age. When she was teen she appeared quite extensively as a concert pianist and singer. She wrote her first anthem in the centennial year, 1876. She married Mr. Adams' July 21, 1880. They moved to Terre Haute, Ind, in 1882, where she took charge of the First Congregational choir and played the organ. Mr. Adams sang bass in the church quartet They stayed at this place for twenty-five years, and during the week Mrs. Adams world direct the choirs of several other churches. ' - She was selected as head of the music department of Indiana State Normal School in 1887 and served in that capacity for nine years. Along with this work and her composing she was director of the Rose Polytechnic Institute glee .club, which gave frequent concerts; pianist and organist of the Oratorical Society, director of the Treble Clef Club and Choral Club, director of many amateur operas, and professional organist, giving recitals for clubs and churches. She was the first woman in the United States ever to direct Handel's "Messiah." This was in 1896. Along with all these other activities she found time to organize children's choirs and to lead community singing, and she became well known in both of these fields. Mr. and Mrs. Adams moved to Portland In 1920 and purchased their present home near the city's edge. The house is an old-fasbioned affair; in fact, that is the reason they bought it. It is back more than one hundred feet from the road,' and has for its setting an acre of ground, covered with flowers and trees and berry bushes. Swings and hammocks and tables and chairs are scattered here and there with no semblance of order. In the house you cannot find any two chairs alike. Each one was bought because it was liked, and the buying of each, to borrow Mrs. Adams' phrase, was an event There are three musical instruments in -one of the rooms, which is not the living room but which cannot be called the parlor, because it's comfortable. There is a concert grand piano, on which the cantatas and the operettas and the anthems are formed. There is a diminutive melodeon. But best of all there is a piano which is more than one hundred and fifty years old, given to her by the Treble Clef Club. This is of the type that the old masters such as Beethoven used in creating their classics. It has been restoring and rekeyed many times, yet its frame is nearly as solid today as it was one hundred and fifty years ago, and its tone is mellowed to that of a guitar. Mrs. Adams' fads are cream pitchers and her granddaughters, offspring of her one son, Allyn Stanley Adams, who lives at Albany, Ore, and sings in fce A-n-rican Legion quartet. Her recreations are short story writing, practicing old piano studies and doing church work. Concerning the first, she has written reams, but has not yet attempted to do anything with the finished products. Concerning the second, she can offer you a variety. Concerning the last, she is at present director of music for the First Congregational Church at Portland, and since being there has led community singing and has directed several concerts, operettas and special entertainments. Although her church music is that by which Mrs. Adams is most widely known, her operettas and glee club compilations have proved popular. One operetta in particular, "Old Cabin Minstrels," has attracted extensive attention, especially throughout the Southern States. This operetta contains several of the dearly loved negro spirituals, most of which have never before appeared in published form. When this operetta was published letters came in to Mrs. Adams from every section of the South expressing appreciation and gratitude for her work in so arranging the spirituals that the children of the South may become acquainted with them. Her latest composition, one which has not yet been published, is a brief and whimsical tune written to the words of a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, late colored poet She had been asked to read a paper on his life and poetry, and wrote the song to illustrate her talk. One of Mrs. Adams brothers is Charles E. Wilson, manager of the Chamber of Commerce at Salem, capital of Oregon. He, by the way, is musically inclined and has written a comic opera, "Hindoo Head Hunters." But that's his story. He contributes the information that before Mrs. Adams entered her teens her hair was red and her chief diversion was climbing trees. Also and this is strictly inside information she could hold her own if some bully offered a scrap. By way of closing, it might be interesting to note the extent to which Mrs. Adams' church. music is used. It is estimated by her publishers that some - 300,000 to 400,000 voices sing her music every Sunday. piece she received a check for 510 and was satisfied that she was wall paid. That was twenty-two years ago and the anthem is selling as heavily today as it did when it was first published. Since then the music company which made the purchase has passed from existence and its successor, a publishing company of Dayton, Ohio, has issued "Remember Nov Thy Creator." Mrs. Adams was recently requested to reconstruct the song for use of duets, quartets and similar ogaoizations of singers, and now she receives royalties on all oT the revisions. Mrs. Adams has been composing music for more than half a century and she is now sixty-eight years old. She would have to admit it herself, though, before you would believe it She is active, one might almost say sprightly. And there are very few, if any, gray hairs to betray that number of years. How does one set about to compose so intricate a thing as a cantata? It is a process which is handled quite systematically by Mrs. Adams. First she decides what the theme of the cantata is to be. Then she peruses her hymn books and her Bible for divisional texts. Her words are carried over bodily from the hymns or from the Scriptures, although the continuity is her own. Then comes the work of writing the music. At this time it is well to bring in Allyn G. Adams, Mrs. Adams' husband, because he will have to leave in a moment, anyhow. The couple were married in 1880 just forty-seven years ago and since then his rich bass voice has been the first to sing each new creation of Mrs. Adams. When the cantata has progressed to the stage where its music is being written, Mrs. Adams must have quiet. She must have absolute quiet. That means Mr. Adams must leave the house. He may trim any of the myriad of trees and shrubs that abound on the acre which is their home. Or, if it b raining, he may work at his bench in the basement. But Mrs. Adams must not be disturbed. Her time for writing is in the morning. Now, although the procedure of creating the cantata is systematic, it is not always the first division that is finished first or the last division that is finished last Sometimes the text for every division but one mill suggest itself, and the publisher must wait because that one division simply will not shape itself. Mrs. Adams has lived in a musical atmosphere all her life. She was born at Oxford, Ohio, July 21, 1859. Her parents were Alice and David Wilson, both of whom were quite musical. Her father was a teacher of voice, harmony and composition, public speaking and other subjects. He was a writer, composer, director, convention leader, and he maintained musical institutes. Carrie B. is the oldest of six children, all of whom are talented musically. She made her first public appearance when she was seven years old, singing alto in the Halleluiah Chorus from "The Alessiah." w hen she was eleven, the family moved to Washington, 111., and there she played the melodeon in the Methodist Sunday school, took piano lessons and played in concerts. The family moved to Onarga, 111., when she was thirteen, and there she studied under Miss Naomi Rhodes, a teacher of whom she has aUays been fond. About this time DUMAS may hive written bis 200-odd novels some of them very odd Irving Berlin may have composed more jaix numbers than Solomon's offspring daring an epidemic of colic, but it remained for another omu to match the accomplishment of the girlie who tailed off her Turkish husband or was it her Bagdad? -by concocting him 1,001 tales in nightly succession, on the theory that a story a day keeps the butcher away. One thousand and one stories humph ! Then you think of the word prolific, think of Mrs. Carrie B. Acams of Portland, Ore. She has written 4.000 anthems. Four thousand anthems composed by one woman! Fiction? No. Merely the chronicling of an accomplishment that has gained her the distinction of luving written more church music than any other woman in the world. In fact, Mrs. Ad airs became so used to writing anthems that, although she has devoted the greater part f ber lime during the past sixteen years to the writing f more lengthy pieces, she has written an anthem a month on the side ' as associate editor of the Choir Herald during the enure period. And remember, dear readers, every one of these anthems, these 4.000, has been published. These anthems, of course, are merely a side line. There are cantatas and operettas and books for Sunday school and glee dab which must be prepared constantly for her publishers. Cantatas, those lengthy vehicles each of which pro- -tides a full evening's entertainment for Christmas or Easter or some such occasion, are peculiar things. That cantata may count itself successful whose life is prolonged to two years, (or cantatas are sung only by choirs, and choir directors are eve on the lookout for new numbers. Yet here is the reciarkaMe part of it- Every one of Mrs. Adams' cantatas is still selling and bringing ber in royalties. One of them. "Christmas Adoration," was written in Portland in 1923, and has bad one of the most outstanding sales in this field. During the first year 11.000 cop:es ere sold. Now. hen you consider that a prominent co:nposcr masculine gender, if yon please submitted a cantata to Mrs. Adams' publisher and was delighted -when the sale ran 5,000 copies the first year, yau have a:i idea of the remarkable sale of "Christmas AJjration." For that matter. Mrs. Adams is now drawing royalty on every comrosiriun she has ever sold on a royalty basis. This means ali of her work except the antnems which, short stufics. r-re sold outright for flat cash considerations and. as the boys who have tried have found cut. s.o..'.e:i tries tl'.ey are very flat. As fur anthems, their lives, are shorter on an average t"ri she lives of cantatas. A choir sings an anthem or two ri- SunJay and then is out after new ones for the iut Stir.jav. Otcisiorully. however, a composer strikes a t'tcn.e that is so popular the anthctn is Jc-cunJed uier ur.S ocr.

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,800+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free