PATRICK SARSFIELD GILMORE, one of the most successful and widely known, bandmasters and musicians of the last
half century in America, was born in Ballygar, Ireland, on Christmas day, 1829. He attended a public school until
apprenticed to a wholesale merchant at Athlone, of the brass band of which town he soon became a member. His passion
for music conflicting with the duties of a mercantile life, his position as clerk was exchanged for that of musical
instructor to the young sons of his employer. At the age of nineteen he sailed for America and two days after his
arrival in Boston was put in charge of the band instrument department of a prominent music house. In the interests
of the publications of this house he organized a minstrel company known as "Ordway's Eolians," with which
he first achieved success as a cornet soloist. Later on he was called the best E-flat cornetist in the United States.
He became leader, successively, of the Suffolk, Boston Brigade and Salem bands. During his connection with the
latter he inaugurated the famous Fourth of July concerts on Boston Common, since adopted as a regular programme
for the celebration of Independence Day. In 1858 Mr. Gilmore founded the organization famous thereafter as Gilmore's
Band. At the outbreak of the Civil war this band was attached to the Twenty Fourth , Massachusetts Infantry. Later,
when the economical policy of dispensing with music had proved a mistake, Gilm ore was entrusted with the re-organization
of state military bands, and upon his arrival at New Orleans with his own band was made bandmaster-general by General
Banks. On the inauguration of Governor Hahn, later on, in Lafayette square, New Orleans, ten thousand children,
mostly of Confederate parents, rose to the baton of Gilmore and, accompanied by six hundred instruments, thirty-six
guns and the united fire of three regiments of infantry, sang the Star Spangled Banner, America and other patriotic
Union airs. In June, I867, Mr Gilmore conceived a national musical festival, which was denounced as a chimerical
undertaking, but he succeeded and June 15, 1869, stepped upon the stage of the Boston Colosseum, a vast structure
erected for the occasion, and in the presence of over fifty thousand people lifted his baton over an orchestra
of one thousand and a chorus of ten thousand. On the 17th of June, 1872, he opened a still greater festival in
Boston, when, in addition to an orchestra of two thousand and a chorus of twenty thousand, were present the Band
of the Grenadier Guards, of London, of the Garde Republicaine, of Paris, of Kaiser Franz, of Berlin, and one from
Dublin, Ireland, together with Johann Strauss, Franz Abt and many other soloists, vocal and instrumental. Gilmore's
death occurred September 24, 1892.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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