Dec 232012

My neighbor, who is also my classmate, gave me some antique sheet music a few weeks ago.  His great-great grandfather composed it in 1900!  I was finally able to look through it yesterday.  There were three pieces.   Two of them were published and printed – “Rose Waltz”, and “The Colored Regiment”.  The third was a handwritten manuscript of a sequel to the “Rose Waltz” named “The Cariline Waltz”.  William O’Donnell wrote this music.  My neighbors say that he practiced on a grand piano that he kept in the bay window of his Connecticut house.  I made some CDs of the pieces and my neighbors and their family members came to my house to hear the music.  They were excited to have some recordings and I even played the pieces on my piano for them.  They may have heard it at one point in time but could not really remember, so this was very exciting for everyone because they had no idea what to expect.  They were thrilled to finally hear it and are even going to frame the antique music.

It resembles Ragtime music of Scott Joplin and other turn of the century American composers.  I have included some pictures below and a clip for you to sample!

Unfortunately, Mr. O’Donnell died at age 42 shortly before the Great Depression, and his family had to sell his piano because they needed the money.  However, it has been great exploring his old compositions and bringing them back to life.  The spirit of the jazz and ragtime era in the early 1900s lives on.

Audio of “The Colored Regiment”

William O’Donnell - composer of the“Rose Waltz”, and “The Colored Regiment”.

William O’Donnell – composer of the“Rose Waltz”, and “The Colored Regiment”.


Original sheet music published in 1900 and 1901 respectively.

William O’Donnell’s relatives listening to his long-lost music.
 December 23, 2012  Posted by on December 23, 2012 Personal Thoughts  Add comments

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