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Links of the Day:

– Did you know there’s a Rochester Songbook? It was published in 1910 and has tunes called, “Do it for Rochester,” “Rochester Maid Means Quality,” “Sam Patch,” and the “New Genesee.”

Most of us – even lifelong residents – have never heard these songs.

The Rochester Oratorio Society is performing some songs from the book on June 7 at Hochstein. The concert called “Rochester Sings!” aims to commemorate a time when crowds would gather to sing these songs. The concert will also feature new music about our fair city.

The songbook, digitized by the Monroe County library system, is a true gem. The foreward reads:

Loyal love of home and city is a proper sentiment, and song gives it expression…

This song book is the outcome of a plan to assemble for Rochester a collection which will serve as a nucleus for a permanent body of city songs. We believe this to be the first considerable attempt of its kind for any American city.

The authors intended for the book to be expanded with new Rochester songs over the years. It doesn’t appear that happened. Perhaps the Rochester Oratorical Society can revive the tradition.

Put me down at Kodak Town. Put me down at Kodak Town.
I’m looking for the city fair, the one that wears the crown.
I’ve tramped the ground the whole world round. I’ve peeped in everywhere.
Put me down, down, down at Kodak Town and I will call it square.


– You can search a database for all of the state’s double-dippers. Those are people who retired from public jobs and collect pensions while working a new public job. Bob Duffy is on the list.

– An out-of-state couple was arrested for stealing change from an Eastview Mall fountain. Really.

 – Louisiana is trying to privatize the school system. It’s giving vouchers to low-income students. The vouchers can be used at religious schools. There seems to little oversight and the state hasn’t calculated the costs. Meanwhile, public schools will see fewer dollars.

– This is a very moving followup to the 9-year-old girl who was famously photographed after a napalm attack in Vietnam forty years ago.

– Since when do weddings have multiple showers, engagement parties, destination bachelor and bachelorette parties and next-day brunches? Glad I’m not the only one thinking this is all too much.

– There are lots of new ice cream shops in Rochester!

3 Responses to Rochester Sings!

  1. June 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm Douglas A. Fisher responds:

    During the 1984 Rochester Sesquicentennial commemoration, an LP album was issued containing many of these songs.

    One title that I recall, back in the early days of aviation, was “Let Me Down At Kodak Town.” Lyrics were by Dr. John R. Slater, longtime chair of the University of Rochester English Department. Music was by Kendrick Shedd, a labor activist in Rochester of the 1910 era, who wrote his own songbook embodying what would have been considered at the time to be left-wing sentiments.

  2. June 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm Douglas A. Fisher responds:

    A closer view of the sheet music page reproduced alters the attributions that I just cited. Shedd apparently did the words and melody, and the English Professor Slater arranged the music.

  3. This was a terrific discovery, Rachel. Thanks for providing the link. I downloaded the song book, and look forward to sitting at my piano and playing melodies I was unaware of from Rochester’s history.

    I have fond memories of a local TV show that was geared toward Rochester elementary school children in the 1950’s. An episode I recall featured the late Milford Fargo singing ‘The Erie Canal Song.’ Milford was later one of my professors at the Eastman School of Music in 1967. He was proud of his wax cylinder collection (preceded vinyl records), some of which contained early music from Rochester.

    Well, it’s time to dust off my keyboard and explore the Rochester songbook.

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