Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BRAM Presents "Uncle Josh" from Punkin Center on July 7

Black River Academy Museum (BRAM) will feature a special program by Thomas Saul, a retired music teacher from Rochester, NY, entitled 'Uncle Josh, New England Humor in the late 19th and early 20th century', on July 7 at 7 PM at BRAM.
Uncle Josh was a character portrayed on cylinders (records) by recording artist Cal Stewart from the mid to late 1800's through 1919.  He lived in a mythical town of Punkin Center, way down east, near Hickory Corners, close enough to Boston and NYC where he traveled there on occasion.  Cal Stewart's humorous recordings depict a country farmer at the time of the 20th century, trying to cope with he changing times, as the nation was evolving from a rural agricultural society into an urban industrial society.  The program is presented by Thomas Saul, a retired music teacher from Rochester, NY.  He will be showing several slides and recordings of 'Uncle Josh".  
Cal Stewart began is career on the vaudevillian stage entertaining audiences across the country with his character "Uncle Josh" from "Punkin Center."  The character Uncle Josh Whitcomb is from the play The Old Homestead written by Thompson and George W. Ryer in 1886.
Cal Stewart was a celebrated performer and made many friends on his including writer Mark Twain and humorist Will Rogers.  Stewart kind humor is reminiscent of Will Rogers and without doubt his style influenced the younger Rogers.
At the age of 40 Cal Stewart began recording monologues as "Uncle Josh" for Edison in 1897.  He quickly became one of America's first widely successful recording artists and made recordings for all the major labels of the era Edison, Columbia, Victor, Brunswick, and Emerson.  Cal Stewart continued performing and recording until his death on December 7, 1919.  Stewart was one of the first recording artists to demand royalties from his recordings.
Mr. Saul taught music for the Greece Central School District for 33 years.  He received his musical and educational training at SUNY and the Eastman School of Music.  Thom and his wife Shirley have been homeowners in Ludlow since 1999 and spend about 100 days in Vermont Each year.
Access to BRAM will be easy for everyone now that BRAM has completed the full installation of its elevator service to all floors of the historic building.  Ground access to the elevator is via the  new elevator wing at the rear of the building.  
The program, on July 7th at 7PM, will be at BRAM, located at 14 High Street in Ludlow.  Admission is by donation and refreshments will be served directly after the program.

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