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McMahon, Edward M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 9, Number 3 (Dec. 1907)

Parker, F. A.
A retrospect,   pp. 91-95

Page 92

ties. It is true that in a few of the  thing worth the while was being
large educational institutions of the  attempted.  By far the larger part
east courses in music had been estab-  of the time of the instructor in music
lished, and in one college, well known  was occupied in giving private les-
for its freedom  in the matter of    sons in singing and piano playing.
elective studies, these courses had  Some concern was felt lest the de-
been offered for many years, but I   mand for work of this kind'might be
can now recall only one instance of a  insufficient to occupy the time of
state university, which had placed   instructor; therefore patronage was
these studies on the accredited list. invited from  outside the university
Some   encouragement   was   drawn   to provide against the probability of
from  the attitude of the president  the incumbent becoming an idler.
of the university, Dr. John Bascom,  This provision, however, was abro-
who expressed a warm    interest in  gated at the end of the first year,
the work, and, although unmusical in  as it had become apparent that the
a practical way, he recognized and   demands from students alone would
often spoke of the humanizing tend-  be quite sufficient to keep one man
ency of music, and I felt sure of his  busy. In fact, it was found neces-
support in any    reasonable under-  sary to cut down the amount of time
taking. I may add that he did not    devoted to each student.
lay down any restrictions, and that    In 1880 the position of instructor
he carried out his early promises, in music was raised to the dignity of
which had been rather hinted at than  a professorship, but the conditions
formally made. He strongly advised   were not materially changed for a
the formation of a class in the ele-  decade. In the meantime, with the
ments of music, designed to interest  increased attendance upon the uni-
the  student body   in the  general  versity, the demands upon the pro-
practice of music, a hint that I was  fessor of music had grown to such an
only too glad to act upon. The re-   extent that it was found necessary to
sult proved that the demand had not  provide  assistance, and  in  1890
been anticipated. Although no credit  William G. Sired was appointed in-
was given, this class, which met once  structor in music, in which position
a week for only one hour, was largely  he served for five years. Since that
attended.  At the same time there    time this post has been occupied
was organized the University Choral  successively by Henry D. Sleeper,
Club, which also met once a week,    1895 to 1898, Charles E. Roberts,
and engaged in the study of some of  1899 to 1902, and Elias E. Bredin
the lighter, though not trival, choral  from 1902 to the present time.
works. This too received no credit.    Previous to the accession of Mr.
Necessarilv the numbers in this or-  Sired to this position I had been
ganization were rather small at first, approached by the students to organ-
but the spirit was good.  Only one   ize a class in harmony. To test the
public performance was attempted     sincerity of the desire for
during the first season, but this was  I conducted a small class in the
sufficient to stimulate the student  subject for two successive seasons,
members, and to make the public       without giving any credit, and be-
acquainted with the fact that some-  came satisfied that the time was ripe

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