On November 21, 1911, the San Francisco Call published an an amusing anecdote about a performance simultaneously unbefitting the venue and calculatingly effective:
Chico, Nov. 20. --Every little movement of the orchestra and the ushers of the Chico Baptist church had a meaning all its own when the collection was taken at the regular services. Also, a modern musical comedy tune, it as found, could be successfully grafted on the church organ pipes and bear good fruit. Furthermore, there was something like vindication for those leaders of Protestant churches who insist that the old hymn tunes may with profit be relegated to the basement while the choir loft devotes itself to something more modern.
O'Hare's piano roll arrangement
The history of the War on the Hyphen is too interesting to ignore.
What's more, it explains and almost certainly inspired the poem that became the lyric of There Is No Hyphen in My Heart--a World War I song William Christopher O'Hare arranged for band and probably for orchestra.
Although the War on the Hyphen began innocently enough with an amusing attack on a punctuation mark, it evolved into a war of anti-Americanism--most specifically, a war against pro-German sentiments--which all too easily impacted innocent German American immigrants. In many ways, it parallels discrimination that relegated Japanese American citizens to internment camps during WWII and discrimination that targets some refugee and immigrant groups today.
I am a retired community college professor and the great-granddaughter of composer, orchestrator, arranger, organist, and teacher William Christopher O'Hare.
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