Academy of Music
4 August 2016
“Of all the many brilliant events of the season occurring in the fashionable world of the City of Churches which engage the attention and absorb the largest share of interest among the fair belles and gallant beaus, none can lay claim to higher honor and distinction on the roll than the annual promenade concert of the Twenty-third regiment, New York State National Guard. Last evening was the fifth annual recurrence of this long looked forward to event, and was such as to fulfill the most ardent expectations of the host of patrons and admirers of the regiment. The Academy of Music, where the concert was held, was decked in its gayest attire, and the variegated hues of the bunting and silk flags, gracefully commingling, and the many hundred gas jets which illuminated the ballroom, lit up a scene not often witnessed, even in this city, which is so noted for the beauty of its daughters. There certainly never was a finer assemblage of pretty women, elegantly attired, and brave men, in handsome uniforms, than was present on this occasion. The committees were ubiquitous and untiring in their exertions to promote the success of the entertainment and add zest to the amusement of their friends and patrons. [Committee members’ names are listed.] . . . . The carriages began to arrive and deposit their loads of fashionably dressed ladies and gentlemen as early as eight o’clock, and there seemed to be no cessation up to eleven o’clock. At that hour there could not have been less than three thousand persons present. Part first of the programme, which was as follows [list of pieces], occupied the time until ten o’clock, at which hour the dancing commenced.
Dancing was found, by those who participated in it, anything but a pleasure, the crowd upon the floor being so great.
In order to accommodate as far as possible those who wished to dance, the Assembly Room was thrown open and soon filled with sets.
Part second of the programme was as follows [list of pieces].
From the tasteful arrangement of the decorations, and the profusion of them, it would appear that those having the work in charge had endeavored to see how much improvement could be made over those of last year. There were innumerable cornopias [cornucopias?], banners, field pieces, shields, armorial drawings and gay streamers. Over the proscenium, which was beautifully decorated with national flags and banners, were a number of handsome gas jets forming the words ‘Twenty-third Regiment, N.G.S.N.Y!’ This was almost the first thing which attracted the attention of those who entered by the centre door. Just beyond this was the massive chandelier, with one hundred and fifty-two burners, throwing a light of dazzling brilliancy over the happy company and making the rich silks, satins, moire, &c., with which the ladies were dressed, shine with greater lustre than they usually do on such occasions. There were a new canopy and side scenes, which took the place of the uncouth looking wings on the stage. A camp scene, flanked by stacks of muskets, on which were strung a number of knapsacks, were placed in the rear of the stage. The boxes on either side of the stage were also adorned with flags and banners, and around the dress circle were a series of armorial shields painted by Mr. Gabriel Harrison. Over the entrance to the body of the academy, and which was occupied as the orchestra, was an ancient shield bearing the Roman coat of arms. On the right was the Grecian and on the left was the Egyptian coat of arms.
All the national designs, American shields, stacks of muskets, regimental banners, &c. were upon the upper circle. The dome was decorated with streamers of red, white and blue, which were gathered up beautifully and fastened to different parts of the hall, almost entirely covering the fresco work on the ceiling. In front of the proscenium boxes were two pieces of beautiful statuary, which attracted considerable attention. The band of the regiment was stationed on the right of the stage and numbered seventy pieces of music. The concert did not pass off satisfactorily to all, as many who desired to dance could not get an opportunity to do so, and therefore went away disappointed.”