The actual date of the organization of the Beethoven Club is unfortunately obscure. We know it to have been either in 1895 or 1896 and feel that we have as much right to consider one date correct as the other.
Assuming that the 1895 was initial year we are now celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary. Our only method of obtaining data concerning the club was through Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Corbin who were original members and who left Hanover in 1894.
During the first few years of the club's life Miss Emily J. Young, a charter member and for many years our revered and honored president assumed all responsibility of the programmes. At each meeting she endeavored to secure the promise of sufficient numbers for the next meeting. This work became very laborious and the need of officers began to be felt. The membership from 1895 to 1900 grew from three to twenty-six. With so small a membership, it became very hard for Miss Emily to supply substitutes at the last moment, and it was at this time that she appealed to Miss Charlotte Hauer for talent from her class.
In 1900 we elected our first and only officer for the ensuing year, Miss Emily J. Young as President. We also printed our first program, with twenty-six active members enrolled. During the season of 1901-1S02 two additional officers were chosen. Mrs. Charles Dietz as Secretary and Miss Emma DeLone as Treasurer.
It became necessary to establish a fund for our current expenses. A nominal sum of ten cents as membership fee was fixed upon. Several years later an enthusiastic member suggested that we increase the fee, which was accordingly done, covering all our expenditures and enabling us to establish the Musical Alcove in The Hanover Public Library, which we are supporting with our excess funds.
As the club grew we began to group our talent and the outgrowth of it all was the different departments, namely the Glee Club and Orchestra, the latter consisting of Dr. M. M. Flcagle, Mr. H. E. Hoke, Dr. C. P. Woleott, Mr. Paul Zeiber and Mr. George H. Zouck.
In 1904 the club attempted a little drama which was successfully given on the evening of February twenty-first at the home of Miss Harriet Hoke. In 1911 our membership had increased to seventy-eight and a constitution was deemed necessary, and was adopted by the club.
Gentlemen's evenings were then popular features of the clubs life and greatly enjoyed by everyone.
A Victrola recital was given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Zouck, January sixth, 1914. Another prominent feature for a number of years was our operatic evenings, confining an evening to a single composer, those who were the masters in music.
A great deal of musical talent, vocal and instrumental, as well as literary, has been developed through the influence of the club.
As the years have come and gone, various circumstances caused the loss of such talent in the club work, but the homes which they found in other towns and cities are reaping the benefit of their early experience with the Beethoven Club.
The privilege which the club has often enjoyed in having outside talent on our programs is not to be forgotten. An important one is the kindness of Dr. Fleagle's orchestra, which has contributed much to the pleasure of the club as well as its visitors.
Too much cannot be said for the intense enthusiasm and energy that Miss Emily Young, our longtime president, gave to the Club. It was dear to her heart, and her time, influence and talent were unstintedly given to its advancement. The highest homage which we could pay Miss Emily would be to imbue all our work in the club with her spirit of progression.
The Beethoven Club is justly proud of its twenty-fifth anniversary. The longevity of the Club has often been commented upon in adjoining towns. Our neighboring college town—one of the professors once said to our president, that while his town was very alert to new ideas and impressions, yet he felt sure no musical and literary organization could have had as long an existence within its environment.
Possibly it is due to our German ancestry, for we all know the tenacity of the German mind, and we won't lose sight of the fact that our patron saint was Beethoven.
With a record of twenty-five years activity, such as we have known, there is every reason for us to renew our enthusiasm and to look forward to even greater things in the future.
March 23, 1920. MRS. HUGH B. HOSTETTER.
1. "The History of the Beethoven Club", Beethoven Club, Hanover, Pennsylvania, Program 1929-1930, pages 49-53.
See AlsoBeethoven Club 1929-1930 Program