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Front Page » January 11, 2005 » Scene » Looking back at the arts in the history of the County
Published 3,509 days ago

Looking back at the arts in the history of the County


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By KAREN TRUMAN
Chairperson Emery County Arts Council

The old Emery church was the site of many cultural activities over the years.

As we continue our journey through Emery County in our quest to 'Revitalize the Arts in Emery County' we stop in Ferron and Emery to look at arts in the past.

Early settlers of Ferron met together frequently to participate in all kinds of recreation. Dancing was a popular diversion which took place in the bowery just west of the church, in homes, stores and later in the church. These early settlers understood the importance of joining together, enjoying each other's company and having a good time.

The early Ferron Dramatic Company was managed by Joseph Thornton, Thomas Fugate and William Worthen. They presented many productions. Most of the scenery was made by town carpenters and preserved for years. This seems to be all the information I have regarding the arts in Ferron, but I find more interest in the arts in Emery where the first plays were staged in the home of Casper Christiansen. A stage was improvised in one end of the log structure, sheets were used as curtains, and families of the settlers along the Muddy River provided the audience. Jim Fisk, who came from Mt. Pleasant, was a popular comedian and director in the period preceding 1885. In 1888 a regular dramatic association was organized under the sponsorship of the local LDS ward, with G.T. Olsen as director and many plays were produced.

In a publication of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers it tells that plays would be featured once or twice a year. Isaac Allred recalled playing five or six dramas in a single winter season. According to Allred no one individual acted as director of plays, the responsibility was accepted by various members of the dramatic company.

In 1893, Joseph J. Anderson organized a dramatic troupe and in 1900, Nephi L. Williams organized a dramatic company.

In about 1902, a brass band was organized and a dramatic company put on productions to raise the money to buy the instruments. "Brookdale Farm," "Prairie Rose," and "Ten Nights in a Barroom" were played by this group.

Music and dramatics were recognized as an important part of life by these early citizens and they worked together to provide the best entertainment, keeping positive attitudes and doing all they could to bring about feelings of happiness and well-being.

We, as an arts council hope to inspire the citizens of Emery County today to give support to the arts in our county. If you are interested in supporting the effort of the Emery County Arts Council or if you have special memories or photos of the performing arts in Emery County from the past, the Emery County Arts Council would like to hear from you. I have had a lot of positive feedback and several email responses to the last two articles.

I was happy to have a photo of the "Marshall Brothers Band" in Huntington emailed to me and to see that one of the members of that band was my grandfather.

Email responses to Karen at tinkerbell_1942@hotmail.com or call 384-2896.


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