Written and published weekly by Cheryl Johnson, the Musician's Helper
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Not often are the words, hero and musician used to refer to the same person. However in 1912, there were eight musicians that became historical heroes--the musicians of the Titanic.
These eight musicians were part of a three and a five piece ensemble. They boarded the ship and traveled as second-class passengers. Until the night of the sinking, the worked as two separate entities. The quintet usually played at teatime, after dinner concerts and Sundays. The trio played at the A La Carte Restaurant and the Cafe Parisian. Only when the iceberg was hit, did they join forces to play and try to keep the passengers calm while loading lifeboats.
Many have said that these brave young men continued to play until the end. One second class passenger made this statement:
“Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.”
Theodore Ronald Brailey was a 24-year-old English pianist on the Titanic’s voyage. He studied piano in school until he began playing in local hotels. He died the night the Titanic sank. His body was never recovered.
Roger Marie Bricoux was 20-years-old and the only Frenchman in the orchestra. Bricoux played cello, died the night of the tragedy, and his body was never recovered.
Wallace Henry Hartley was the 33-year-old band leader and an English violinist. The violin he was playing was an engagement gift from his fiance, Maria. His body was recovered.
John Law Hume was 21 and the only band member from Scotland. Hume was a violinist and died not knowing that his fiance was pregnant with his child. His body was recovered.
Georges Alexandre Krins was a 23- year-old violinist. He was the only band member from Belgium. He died in the disaster and his body was never found.
John Wesley Woodward was a 32-year-old cellist from England. He was among the eight band members that played music as the Titanic sank. He died that night and his body was never recovered.
John Frederick Preston Clarke was a 30-year-old bassist from England. He perished with the Titanic. His body was recovered and buried.
Percy Cornelius Taylor was a 32-year-old cellist from London, England. Taylor died that night. If his body was found, it was never identified.
These eight young men gave their lives to ease the distress and panic of others. They were heroes of an unlikely nature. They thought it was their duty to aid in any way possible. Here is a picture of the brave band.
There is a dispute about the last song they played that night. Some reported it to have been, Nearer, My God, to Thee. Others report hearing Autumn being played as the ship went down. Whatever the song, the fact that they played to help others for as long as they could, warrants our respect and to memorialize their actions.
The band was not employed by the ship, therefore had just as much right as the other passengers to seek escape while the Titanic sank. Their decision to stay was a moral one. As the story goes, Hartley assembled his band and began playing because he’d heard that music is a great weapon against disorder. Music was his weapon against panic and terror that night.
Here are some products from Amazon.com that are about the Titanic Band of Eight. Click on any of the images images below to view them on Amazon, where you can purchase cd’s, dvd’s or other Titanic memorabilia.
Thank you for reading and remember, B# and God bless you all!
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