Every week the Town Crier blog looks back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The ban is off and the long-loved, but lost a while, sugar bowl is again in evidence,” and, “There will be a ball at the Masonic Temple this evening celebrating the reunion of Alsace-Lorraine to France.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”
On the cover of the December 14, 1918 edition of the Town Crier is a gentleman sitting at the keyboard of a Mason & Hamlin piano. The caption reads, “Claude Madden, leader of the Amphion Society, at one of the many new Mason & Hamlin pianos recently received by Montelius Music House, going over a new score just written and probably to be presented at this season’s concerts.”
The Amphion Society was Seattle’s largest male choral body. Madden was its musical director and it became one of the West Coast’s top choirs. Madden was also the conductor of such prestigious musical groups as the Arion Society, Ladies’ Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orpheus Society of Tacoma. He was most known, however, for his leadership of the Amphion Society. One article in an October 1917 edition of Musical America took note that the chorus “has lost six of its seventy members by conscription and enlistment.” The concerts performed “will be lighter than those usually given, and mostly compositions by Americans will be used.”
When one thinks of today’s large choral bodies in Seattle, one looks no further than the Seattle Men’s Chorus. In fact, it’s one of the world’s largest men’s choruses. Founded in 1979, the Chorus “is a voice for LGBTQ advocacy in the community and across the country.” They’ve performed on stage with the likes of Debbie Reynolds, Rosemary Clooney, Kristin Chenoweth, Leslie Jordan, and many others.
Their holiday show is in full swing. Their show “Jingle All the Way” is a high-spirited celebration that brings together beloved carols, fresh takes on holiday classics, and show-stopping dazzlers. Undoubtedly, Claude Madden would approve.
For a list of coming concert dates, go here.