to Christ Church in 1911, is an Englishman and English trained having studied under Dr. Cuthbert Harris of London, also a the London College for Choristers and at the Royal Academy of Music. When he resigned in 1923 to take charge of the music of Trinity Church, Lenox, the work was taken over by an old choir boy and pupil of his, Mr. Lucius Harris, who was then the organist of Hope Congregational Church in this city
         The boy choir of Christ Church was organized May 24, 1870, by the Rev. Dr. Burgess. At that time there were no boy choirs in New England outside of Boston, and Springfield was thus the first inland city in this section to institute the custom.
         Mr. Henry H. Skinner was a member of the first boy choir, and he remembers how eagerly the boys gathered at the Parish House on the night of organization. Indeed so anxious were they to begin the new work that some of them did not want to wait for the doors to be opened but they crawled in at the windows. In that first group of boys were Charles L. Chapin, Leopold Lobsitz, Henry H. Skinner, J. G. Lutz, Joseph S. Read, Frank Lyon, Paul Knapp, Herman C. Miller, Roswell C. Taylor, Fred J. Knappe, Wiliam H. Hancox and George R. Yerrall.
         Many interesting customs were started by the new choir, not the least interesting being that of serenading. They carried with them on these trips little folding English lanterns in which candles were burned. On one occasion, June 28, 1871, shortly after Mr. Coenen' s marriage the boys' serenaded the bridal pair at their home. The late Mr. Skinner had his copy of the three songs sung, written in his very clear but childish hand, just as he carried it many years ago on this memorable occasion. One of the songs, an "Ode to Louis Coenen," was written by the rector, the Rev. Dr. Burgess. The boys were drilled by Mrs. Wm. Gunn.
         "When the choir was founded there were formulated certain rules for management of the boys. It is said to have been a fortunate feature of the new institutions, especially in this case, because Dr. Burgess was not a disciplinarian by nature. The


These pages are © Laurel O'Donnell, 1999 - 2005, all rights reserved
Copying these pages without written permission for the purpose of republishing
in any format or posting to mailing lists is strictly forbidden
This page was last updated on 27 Jul 2005