Musical Memories

Memories of almost forgotten, far off things?
Standing with violin -Bill TOY * Trumpet player Ben TOY * Trombone player William Henry TOY


  • The nineties
  • Tarport
  • Wagner Opera House-built in 1876, stands on the corner of Chambers and Main Streets in Bradford - it is known as Poppys today - it is the oldest standing brick building still in continuous use in Bradford.
  • Option House-The Option House is in Bradford - still exists on Main Street
  • G.A.R. Hall
  • Jake and Felix
  • Bratt (A. C.) an erratic genius
  • Orpheus Club
  • Crandall
  • Tom Kennedy
  • Bob Edgett
  • Bill TOY- The inimitable, calling dances and scraping 2nd fiddle. Once said to a colleague: You are the best leader Jamison ever had.
  • Why?
  • because you never get sore when I ask you what key it is in.
View and read about Bill Toy's violin
Bill Toy's violin- now mine

Dances at Mt. Alton, Rew city - Johnsonburg - all the way to Punxsutawney. Many times by sleigh. Jake and Felix falling out over the backseat and only Felix enormous overshoes upright on the horizon. When we missed them, Jake comes in view: - Wait for de base.

Jamison's shyness and dread of publicity. The caller who was asked to make annoucement after annnouncement, until Jamison said: Won't you please anouce Mr. TOY, that at 1:15 tonight, I shall climb upon a high stool at (accustomed lunch hangout) and eat a pie!

Attention: arresting raps on the fiddle-back "ladi-e-e-s and gentlemen! I am requested to renunce (Bill's favorite expression) that at 1:15 tonight Mr. Jamison will climb up on a stool at ....lunch room and eat a pie

Dead silence among puzzled dancers while Jamison shrinks and tries to look as if he is not there-
Mr. Jamison is the cornet player and he sets right over there-- pointing with the bow. Jamison shrinking likewise as the line comes in the "Limited Mail"
Mr. Jamison, the company's detective-- And the shout that greeted the line at the Wagner year after year.

The request for a cornet to lead the boys in song on an excursion- up in front of the car Jamison, embarassed but game (Marching Throught Georgia) to start them singing. Nobody sings, all listening to Jamison's one and only stage appearance as a soloist on any stage.

Jake's hatred of encores.--

    Now begins this dam clapping of hands!
    The bass-players layout at Lakewood
    where we played on the floor of the Grand Ballroom.
    The chair for the base;
    the bow laid at a certain angle.
    The resin concientiously applied
    (left handed) looking nearsightedly over the thick glasses the snuff box on the chair
    and the great red bandanna spread across the chair back!

Pennies moved from one trouser pocket to the other to count the dances. --We must have played a hundred dances tonight! and the pennies to prove it.

The great (shrump) on the bass- one too many- orchestra had all finished. Amazement of the members at this slip on the part of a sure fire performer. Respectful silence, as customary in such case - Jake's head bowed in mortification- at length an anguished (on why did I do it!) Accented by a vigorous blow of the clinched left fist.

Sneaking the drink in the hotel room at invitation of the boss- Felix stalls by the door just in time to join Jamison. To tease Felix, winks and lays down a dime- others likewise, including the devistated Felix, who pays his and stalks sadly out- big laugh and another round ordered- someone goes to shut the door- Jake interposes --No, no! Now he thinks he must pay, he don't come in no more.

Felix sitting at lunch-counter at intermission ordering --Just a cup of coffee - not at all hungry
--Why don't you eat? committee pays for it!
--Is that so? Give me some of this - and this - and this - etc.

Jake and Felix on their way from the cottage to the evening session at the Kent House in the rain - Jakee's "John O'Brien" umbrella for himself, felix plugging along six feet behind him in the rain-collar turned up. "Why don't you let him come under?" "No sir- let hi buy one for himself like I did!"

And Jake's inimitable laugh, (Ha...ha...ha...ha...ha...ha... chuckle)

The Bratt sensation and the committeeman of the Orpheus seeking assurance from Jamison at the beginning of the next season.
--Will you guarantee he won't repeat the act?

Frank McBride and his one-word retorts. The old oil crowd Mallory - Jule Andrews- Tom Osborne - Hamilton, the unique- the old Burlesque Theatre, (Gem) Grand Theatre, his best engagement, terminated by the jazz craze - then the talking picture.

Jamison's circus days - disgust at having to play Bradford and parade in the red coat, Harry Crandall's jibe when Jamison asked for requests for an Orpheus party featuring old favorite tunes.
One anonymous letter asking, --Won't you please play that beautiful tune the Barnum band played for the elephants waltz? -- and Jamison walking in on Cradall and tossing him the letter.

Halloween 1933 - The mystic procession of muscians who worked for (J.) passes- figure in a dream - Bill Toy, Arthur Scheffer, Paul Charles, - Fred Harm - Mills - Dennison - Bratt - Mrs. Bratt, Lizzie McConnel - Barr - Jim Andrews - Johnson. Bige Davis, the philosopher, and all the host of them.

Gone on ahead - still interested, perhaps, in this final appearance of Jamison's orchestra.
Contributed by Sheila Barr Helser