Musical evening celebrates bravery of Titanic bandPosted Apr 26, 2012 By Stacey Roy
EMC Entertainment - If the workers of Titanic were made famous in Belfast's new visitor centre and the stories of the unsinkable ship immortalized in movies, the musical spirit of Titanic was reborn in Smiths Falls during a recent fundraiser.
The April 20 evening performance of David Archibald's Titanic: Pride of the White Star Line resulted in raising $200 each to the Heritage House Museum and the Smiths Falls & District Historical Society. Audience members delighted in the upbeat melodies of ragtime and music hall sounds while shedding a tear during three special songs written by Archibald himself in honour of the band and a very special couple on board the fatal voyage.
"I got bitten by it when I was just a lad," Archibald said of Titanic's story.
As a boy he read A Night to Remember and from then on was hooked on the lives that Titanic took with her in April 1912. Two of those lives were Isidor and Ida Straus, co-owners of the Macy's department store in New York. When the elderly couple learned the ship would sink they ensured their maids were safely on a lifeboat. Ida put one foot on the boat herself before stepping back and informing her husband that she had spent too many years with him to leave now. Archibald recalls this tender moment in his song with the following lyrics: "Our lives are one not two . . . There by my side is Ida my bride on the pride of the White Star Line."
The couple died together that night, but their story lives on through Archibald's ballad, which he wrote for the Bruce County Museum's exhibit opening this year. As a musician, Archibald was drawn to the bravery of the Titanic band which played on while the ship was sinking and has gone on to write two songs from their perspective, which he shared with the audience last week. The band, which was led by 33-year old Wallace Hartley, had a demanding job on board the great Titanic. They were expected to be able to play one of over 300 songs found in a music book placed at each table. Yet, their greatest challenge came when they decided to calm the nerves of those who would die by playing song after song.
Last Friday's musical presentation inside the Smiths Falls Curling & Squash Club paid tribute to many people who are connected to the story of Titanic, including the coal mine workers whose 1912 strike caused a shortage of coal. Coal was taken from smaller ships to feed Titanic's daily appetite of 800 tons of coal. Those booked to sail on these smaller ships were invited to rebook at a later date or book a room on Titanic herself.
"Lucky them," Archibald remarked.
Lucky indeed were the 58 individuals who sat in last Friday's fundraising event.
"I feel sorry for people who didn't come and hear this. I feel they missed something special," remarked audience member, Sheila Sansome.
Ian Ross, member of the Heritage House Museum board thanked Archibald for a special evening.
"It's been wonderful. It's been a first class presentation," he said.
The museum would like to thank the hospitality class at SFDCI who served refreshments and the Smiths Falls Curling & Squash Club who provided space for the evening.
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