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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND HARMONIC SOCIETY

CLEVELAND HARMONIC SOCIETY

The CLEVELAND HARMONIC SOCIETY was one of the earliest musical organizations in Cleveland. Organized in 1835 by 7 amateur instrumental performers, its emphasis soon shifted to choral music. In 1837 the society gave a number of concerts under the leadership of G. W. Pratt. A spring concert in 1839 presented 26 pieces, including works by Handel and Haydn. The Harmonic Society was one of the few choral groups in Cleveland in the mid-19th century of non-German origin; it was categorized as an English choral society. It was also one of the few choral societies in Cleveland to survive the Civil War. In 1870 it supplied the choral section for Beethoven's Choral Fantasy in a concert by the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. The following year the society performed Flotow's Martha with the Germania Orchestra, a performance which was repeated later that year at a benefit for sufferers of the Chicago fire. Other performances from this time included Mendelssohn's Elijah and a grand opera. The Cleveland Harmonic Society (not to be confused with the Cleveland Harmonic Club) faded in the 1870s with the emergence of the CLEVELAND VOCAL SOCIETY.