Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lorain Composer's “Lost" Symphony to Be Performed at Last

Standing, left to right, are: “Shorty” Chamberlain,
Kent Richardson, Walt Hines; Seated are: Frank Billings,
Dick Kuss, Harrison Baumbaugh and Ted Metzger
Back on Part 3 of my long-overdue series on the Pueblo, I mentioned Ted Metzger and the Campus Owls, a popular local orchestra that regularly performed at the nightclub.

As an article in the October 15, 1929 Lorain Times-Herald noted, “The Campus Owls known to practically everybody in Lorain-co and to many outside of the county have played several seasons at Vermilion-on-the-Lake in the summer time and the Antlers Hotel in the winter.

“The personnel of the orchestra remains the same as during the summer. “Shorty” Chamberlain, Ted Metzger, Harrison Baumbaugh, Frank Billings, Walt Hines, Dick Kuss and Kent Richardson."
Harrison Baumbaugh, Senior
Well, recently I was contacted by a relative of Harrison Baumbaugh, one of the Owls. Glenna Baumbaugh wrote to tell me that, "On Sunday, July 3rd, the Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony Orchestra will perform the lost composition, “Rhapsody in Pink” by composer Harrison Baumbaugh Senior at 7:30 pm at Montgomery Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Prelude in Pink was found recently by his son, Harrison Baumbaugh, Jr. of West Chester, Ohio (formerly of Lorain).  This complete composition with all parts intact was recovered from a 1977 house fire in Lorain, Ohio where many of his compositions were destroyed. Thinking it was composed in the late 20’s or early 30’s, it was never performed until now.  
"The title Prelude in Pink may have been inspired by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, but this is a mystery."
Harrison Baumbaugh had an extensive musical career. According to a biography provided by Glenna Baumbaugh, “He played in local civic and school bands, and at age 15 he played piano at a local silent movie theater.  He decided to study serious music and attended Baldwin Wallace (BW) Conservatory of Music where he studied pipe organ and composition.  

"Pursuing a musical career brought him into the popular music culture of that time when dance bands and theatre music abounded in dance halls, theaters, and music parks, from Detroit to western New York. He played in numerous pit orchestras and bands, composing and arranging for bands through the 1920’s. He published some foxtrot sheet music in the early 1930’s.  

"During the last 15 years of his life, health issues kept him pretty close to his home studio with a large number of piano and horn students.

Harrison Baumbaugh passed away in late November 1963. His obituary in the Lorain Journal noted that he was a familiar face in the music department of many Lorain County public schools. 

During the early 1930s he was a member of the Ted Metzger Campus Owls orchestra. The dance band was popular for many years in Ohio and surrounding states.

The obituary also noted, Many clubs and organizations were entertained at luncheons by piano music offered by Mr. Baumbaugh, one in particular being the Lions Club of which he was a member and pianist.

Happily, Harrison Baumbaugh will be entertaining an audience once again this weekend, with the long-awaited performance of his Prelude in Pink. Click here for details.

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