WEEKLY VISIT TO THE MUSEUM
January 27, 2021
Music, an important cultural expression
Early recordings of immigrants’ orchestras
From the Irene Balzekas Memorial Map Collection
By the late 19th century, Lithuanian communities in the US had founded choirs, choruses, orchestras, and music societies as well as record companies that produced and distributed recordings of Lithuanian performers. Recordings in the US pre-date those in Lithuania itself and reflect the myriad avenues and social spheres in which the immigrants lived. The music drew on well-known Lithuanian composers and folk music but included new work created in the US. The Mahanojaus Lietuviška Mainerių Orkestra (The Mahanoy Lithuanian Miners’ Orchestra), founded in the coal mining regions of Pennsylvania, recorded under the Columbia Records label and specialized in folk music. The first Lithuanian chorus was established in 1885 in the parish of St. Casimir in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first orchestras were in Shenandoah and Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania and were made up of fourteen and twelve musicians respectively.
This virtual exhibit is supported in part by grants from the following:
The Balzekas Museum gratefully acknowledges these grantors as well as the members and private donors whose contributions support museum programs and activities.