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Sheet Music of the Week: Masonic Edition

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"The Dance of the Owls," by Geo. H. Arthur. Cincinnati: John Church Co., 1892.

A frenzied woodland gathering beneath a full moon; no, it’s not the thrilling conclusion to the Nicolas Cage vehicle Drive Angry 3-D but the subject of the unusual cover art (best viewed large) of this week’s featured sheet music.  My research behind the pages has frequently taken me places I did not expect to virtually travel, and this week is no exception.  Little did I know that an idle search in our database for “owls” would lead me to a Masonic Order in the heartland of nineteenth-century America.  A little digging proved that such was the explanation behind the mysterious inscription “to the Hooters and Screechers of Nest No.8, Terre Haute, In.” (Note to Googlers: an initial search for “hooters and screechers Terre Haute” will result in a false hit indeed).  The lyrics for this delightful piece consist solely of variations on “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo” with the vivid additional instruction, “Ad Captandem, Capsizem and Kerplunkem Ye Owls.” Read more about the Masons in a Today in History article on George Washington, Master Mason.

The Historic Sheet Music, 1800-1922 collection includes another piece by composer Geo. H. Arthur that seems to confirm his penchant for the night: “Evening Chimes.”

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