Here it is, the last day of Black History Month and we have not contributed our story to it.  You remember… Earl Lawrence, a black musician from Erie, was an excellent musician, music store owner, teacher and performer… taught all the music in all the Fairview school buildings (township and borough) from 1940 to his retirement in 1950. And we are the very proud owners of his square grand piano.

The photo above is from the Red and Black student magazine, dated December 1930.   So who are the people shown there?  And what are they doing? Well, it seems there was a high school teacher called “Miss Taylor” who was in charge of all the school plays, operettas, etc.  In 1927, before the new combined high school opened (Fairview Township-Borough High School, now Chestnut Street Apartments), she organized a girls’ glee club.  They performed at various activities and their efforts were noted in this volume also. 

Then, stated the article that accompanies this photo: “shortly after we moved into the new high school Miss Taylor announced, to the joy of some and dismay of others, that a high school orchestra was going to be organized.”  And so it was.  The group played at various events, “making their first event at the literary contest.” They never performed an entire program by themselves, always just adding music. 

The critic who wrote this piece added, “One of the greatest handicaps of this organization is that the students do not have musical instruments.”  Hmm. 

Well, it looks like they had an organ grinder, banjo, two violins and two pianists” (with one piano).

The author added, “Little wonder it is that many weird noises came up from the basement” during their rehearsal times.  No telling how long this group lasted, but the Fairview Schools definitely benefitted from the talent and expertise of Mr. Lawrence.






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