Holly Johnson: Music takes center stage at the Hormel Historic Home

Published 6:30 am Saturday, August 29, 2020

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I love the four seasons in this part of the county, but if there was a fifth season for the Hormel Historic Home I would name it “MUSIC.”  In this unbelievable era of constant change, I am grateful that we have been able to keep our “MUSIC” season primarily intact.  In the last eight weeks we have hosted 10 musical events outdoors.  I am so hopeful that our last event scheduled for Aug. 31 can also be held comfortably in the Peace Garden.

Outdoor music has played a historic role in the cultural life of communities since the beginning of time I suppose.  In Austin there are reports of outdoor musical events in the various parks and at community celebrations for well over 100 years as seen in the excerpts from the Austin Daily Herald below.

  June 20, 1896: “The band with the Kickhert-Ryan’s circus gave a concert at the head of West Fourth street last evening which was greatly enjoyed by several hundred people.”

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• Feb. 6, 1900: “Free Band Concert 6:30 p.m. in front of the Theatre.” Check out that date for an outdoor event!

• July 10, 1901: “Band Concert: A large and orderly crowd assembled on Main St. last night to listen to the excellent music furnished by the M.W.A. Band.  The many carriages, the ladies in their light dresses and the crowd that slowly moves up and down the street or congregates on the courthouse square furnish a very pretty scene.  One has missed an interesting phase of Austin social life who fails to attend at least one of the summer evening concerts.”

Music is an art form for enjoying, teaching and communicating.  At the HHH, music allows people to share and grow their musical gifts and to come together to appreciate the talents of others.  Our music programming gives a platform and voice to those who express themselves best when surrounded by music.  Lillian Hormel, a music teacher herself, would certainly have been one of those people.

As of right now we only have one concert left in the Music @ the Mansion series of 2020.  But the way things change, maybe we’ll extend our fifth season into the winter like they did in February of 1900.  If books are more appealing to you, please consider joining Lisa Deyo (Sweet Reads) and I for a book discussion of George A. Hormel’s autobiography, “The Open Road,” beginning on Sept. 14 in either an in person or virtual format.  Hmmm, music played a role in George Hormel’s life as well.

Upcoming Events

Music @ the Mansion The Kellogg Duo

7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 31

Please bring your own chair and be prepared to social distance.  Face masks recommended.

History’s Sweet Reads Book Discussion

5-6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 14

Sponsored by the Hormel Historic Home and Sweet Reads Book Store

Join in person or virtually as we discuss the life and experiences of George A. Hormel as told in his 11 chapter autobiography.  Pre-registration required on website. $5 per session or $45 for whole series.