A Festival of Irish Minstrelsy, Song and History, known in Gaelic as Feis Ceol Agus Seanachas, was held at Hollis Street Theatre in
on May 6, 1900. The festival was organized
by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Philo-Celtic Society of Boston and the
Gaelic Society. Boston
Among the highlights: a Gaelic version of “The Star Spangled Banner” by eminent Irish baritone William Ludwig.
The Boston Globe described the festival thus: “the occasion will form a novel innovation, inasmuch as for the first time in Boston the ballads of chivalry, love and war, Gaelic folk songs, gems of Irish opera and other unusual features of Irish national music will be heard, as well as the more familiar harp and bagpipe music of Ireland.”
Professor Fred Robinson, Gaelic scholar at
was cited as an enthusiast for the city’s Irish language movement. Harvard University
Ludwig, ‘whose lifework has been given to the interpretation of Irish music and song, was the featured performer. Also on the stage: Irish harpist Nona L. Coveney and piper Patrick Harney. In addition, a one-hundred person choir from the Catholic Church choirs of the Archdiocese, performed under the direction of Edward McGoldrick.
“The love songs of Thomas Moore, the stirring war ballads of Thomas Davis, the operas of Michael Balfe and William Vincent Wallace, the humorous songs of Lever” were among the songs being performed.
Located between Washington and
Tremont Street, the Hollis Street Theatre
first opened in 1855 with a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado. Over the decades it featured top artists like
Dion Boucicault and Sarah Bernhardt, along with plays such as Uncle Tom’s
Cabin, Sherlock Holmes, and Twelfth Night.
Find more about Boston's Irish history at IrishHeritageTrail.com.