This Week in Texas Methodist History March 6
Denison Methodist Church Hosts Musical Program, March 11, 1878
In the late 1870s Denison was THE boomtown in Texas. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway had selected Denison as the location that its rails would enter Texas. The first train arrived Christmas Eve, 1872, and Denison soon blossomed as the leading commercial center of the northern Blackland Prairie. Soon cotton, flour, and beef from all over Texas were streaming to the markets of the Northeast through Denison.
An influx of merchants, bankers, and laborers from the Northeast streamed into Denison, and its population grew rapidly. In the summer of 1873 it boasted a population of 3000.
The new Methodist church hosted a musical program on Monday, March 11, 1878 by the traveling singer, Phillip Phillips (not to be confused with the 2012 American Idol singer of the same name.)
The reporter for the Denison Daily News gave an unfavorable review to the program. The songs were the epitome of the syrupy, over-sentimental compositions of the Victorian Era. Here is the review
Mr. Phillip Phillips rendered a representative selection of his moral and sacred songs at the new Methodist church on Monday evening. The house was pretty well filled, and the audience gave patient attention to the rather monotonous programme for an hour and a half. The music was of the recitative order, and while the performer threw a good deal of expression into his pieces, n doubt a majority of his hearers went away wondering that it would have secured him the great reputation he seems to enjoy. Among the best of his songs given were, “Let us gather up the Sunbeams,”Leaf for Life,”“Self-Deceit (a temperance song)”“The Cradlebed Song,” and Tennyson’s “Too Late.”