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MMD > Archives > September 1998 > 1998.09.16 > 09Prev  Next

Harry J. Lincoln and Charles C. Sweeley
By Matthew Caulfield

Having returned to the Washington, D.C., area Monday, I was able to
check out Robert Perry's information that Charles C. Sweeley's famous
"Repasz Band" is actually by Harry J. Lincoln.

Mr. Perry is quite correct, but there are also many interesting side-
lights to the Lincoln-Sweeley connection.  What follows is quoted or
paraphrased from the Heritage Cyclopedia of Band Music, which says:

  "In all of band music history, there is no more confusing situation
  than that surrounding the life and works of the American composer,
  Harry J.  Lincoln, and the relationships he had with other musicians
  from the Williamsport, Pennsylvania, area: Charles C. Sweeley and
  the Vandersloots. ... Lincoln published music under his own name,
  as well as such pseudonyms as Abe Losch."

The cyclopedia lists 86 compositions published under Lincoln's own
name, plus others under these pseudonyms: Thomas Casele, Ben E. Crosby,
James L. Harlin, Abe Losch, Carl L. Loveland, Caird M. Vandersloot,
Carl D. Vandersloot, F. W. Vandersloot.  It also quotes a letter of
Aug. 16, 1928, from Lincoln to the Copyright Office in which he
mentions additional pseudonyms which he used: Raymond Edwards, J. C.
Halls, and Harry Jay.

Lincoln apparently was in the habit of selling his compositions to
other composers who then put their names to them.  His early works
were published by the Vandersloot company, and he used the real names
of Vandersloot family members on some of his compositions.  In 1929
Lincoln bought out the Vandersloot Music Publishing Company and moved
it from Williamsport to Philadelphia.

The cyclopedia remarks, "Lincoln composed most of his band music
under his own name."  Judging by the titles, he could have been a fire
buff, because he used titles such as "False Alarm," "Fire Worshiper,"
"Blaze Of Honor," "Midnight Fire Alarm," and "Still Alarm."

The Repasz Band was (perhaps still is?) an award-winning Williamsport
band.  The march of the same name, composed for this famous band, was
published under Sweeley's name, but on Oct. 2, 1928, Sweeley executed
an affidavit swearing that the actual composer was Harry J. Lincoln
"and that said March was only purchased by me for a certain amount of
money, that I may insert my name thereon as composer of the same, to the
end of the first copyright term."

The cyclopedia lists 11 compositions that were actually written by
Sweeley, remarking that it is possible, but unlikely, that some might
be by Lincoln rather than Sweeley.

The cyclopedia gives much, much more information about all these people
than I can, or should, repeat here.  Anyone interested in composers for
band will easily lose himself in the three volumes that make up this
reference work and its supplement.

Regarding E. T. Paull (Edward Thomas Paull), it lists 42 marches by him,
and 9 other works.  It notes also that, although early editions of "The
Midnight Fire Alarm," published by Paull's company, name Paull as its
composer, later editions -- and also copyright registration records --
correctly name Harry J. Lincoln as composer.

Matthew Caulfield

(Message sent Thu 17 Sep 1998, 03:38:33 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  C, Charles, Harry, J, Lincoln, Sweeley

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