Authored by Julia Sukhu
The oddest things can bring a community together. In the case of Northport, a Long Island community, a piece of music made to advertise law books has a special place in the community’s history and brought them together in 2015. This bright and well-maintained illustration is the cover page for the “Pleading and Practice Grand March” sheet music created by George H. Bishop to sell law textbooks in the 1800’s. Published by the Edward Thompson Company, this is a unique piece of history as the publishing company was in Northport, Long Island (McAtee 2015). The “Pleading and Prancing Grand March” is a solo for a piano (McAtee 2015). It was distributed as a free premium item to potential buyers of the “Encyclopedia of Pleading and Practice” between 1895 and 1902 (McAtee 2015). This is truly a piece from a bygone era as we no longer create sheet music for a solo piano to advertise law text books.
Sadly, because this piece is so old, not much is known about the composer George H. Bishop other than that he was a Northport resident and was “granted patents for a chicken incubator in 1890 and a combination broom and dustpan holder in 1891,” but the Edward Thompson Company is remembered (McAtee 2015). The Edward Thompson Company was one of the largest publishers of law books in the 1900’s, but no longer operates today (“Edward Thompson Company” 2018). The building that housed the company can be seen in the background of the illustration and still stands in Northport today under the Thompson name. Currently, the Thompson building is home to several smaller businesses. Though the company does not exist anymore, Northport still remembers and celebrates its history.
In 2015, the Northport Community band put on free concerts during the summer to bring the community together and the “Pleading and Practice Grand March” was the highlight performance of the concert series. Serendipitously brought to the attention of the Director of the band at the time Don Sherman, this unique piece of Northport’s history was played in celebration of the community, and a reminder of the long history that Northport has. As St. John’s mission states, “community is not a feeling but an action” which is “manifested through the time, talent and energy of its members” (“Our Mission” 2018). By remembering this music, it strengthens the sense of community in Northport and brings the people together to appreciate their history through the talent of its people and showcases the creativity they are capable of. The past has place alongside the present and the pride this inspires in Northport will lead its community to cherish its people and history.
“Edward Thompson Company.” The Thompson Building. n.d. Accessed March 18, 2018. http://www.thethompsonbuilding.com/edward-thompson-co/.
McAtee, Paige. “Northport Community Band to End Concert Series with a Bang.” Northport Patch. July 29, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from https://patch.com/new-york/northport/northport-community-band-end-concert-series-bang-0.
“Pleading and Practice Grand March 2 Step.” Levy Music Collection. n.d. Accessed March 18, 2018. http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/collection/172/055.
“Pleading and Practice 2 Step: Grand March, – George H. Bishop – Special Collections & Archives, Stony Brook University.” Special Collection and Archives Stony Brook University. n.d. Accessed March 18, 2018. https://specialcollections-stonybrook.culturalspot.org/asset-viewer/pleading-and-practice-2-step-grand-march/MQEUlEgt3orEGQ?hl=en.
“Our Mission.” St. John’s University. n.d. Accessed March 18, 2018. http://www.stjohns.edu/about/our-mission.