More than 1000 persons attended the concert in Worcester theater last night from 8 o'clock until almost 11, for the benefit of Mrs. Charles O. Asplund and her two little daughters, survivors of the Titanic disaster, who lost her husband and three sons, as well as all the family savings when the steamship went down off the Grand banks of Newfoundland, the morning of April 15.
From the sale of tickets, flowers and programs, about $800 was added to the general benefit fund, swelling the money in the treasury for Mrs. Asplund to more than $1800.
Mrs. Asplund could not be present, as the funeral for her husband, earlier in the day, had taxed her strength. She was represented by Rev. John A. Eckstrom of Gethsemane Swedish Lutheran church who explained that she is far from being recovered from the shock of her horrible experience, and expressed her appreciation for the contributions from Worcester people.
The concert was more of a success than members of the general benefit fund committee had expected. Cash receipts from the tickets presented at the theater door amounted to $661.75. This was increased by $57.32 from the sale of flowers by the young women of the King-Lynch stock company who disposed of the last flower of 100 boxes before 8:30 o'clock.
In addition to this, committee members said last night that, probaly there is a $100 more from the sale of tickets which were not used. Many persons contributed to the fund by buying tickets for charity's sake alone, and did not use them. Until today when those that had tickets for sale make accounting the amount cannot be determined saved by estimate.
Every light in the theater auditorium was ablaze. A long row of arches of incandescents over the sidewalk of Exchange street.,on the Bay State house, leading down to the theater, also was lighted, and there were few people who passed either way on Main street who were not told of the concert by young men interested in swelling the benefit fund.
The theater doors were thrown open at 7:30 o'clock and that early hour there was a crowd waiting on the sidewalks. As the audience passed in each man was accosted by fair young women with bunches of pansies, tulips and other seasonal flowers. Nearly everyone bought flowers and programs.
The program sold for 5 cents each, but there was no change returned. Some paid as high as 50 cents for their program without a murmur. The flowers sold at higher prices. A single blossom was 5 cents, but the bunches sold for 25 cents. Sums ranging from 25 cents to $1 were paid, and the flower girls reaped a harvest.
The flower girls were headed by Miss. Rose King of the King-Lynch players, assisted by Mrs. Lewis McCord. They were misses Belle Dale, Elsa Duncan, Elvia Bates and Theu Lightner, the last two of whom are the vaudeville company of Bates and Lightener, now playing in Providence, but who came to Worcester to assist Miss. King, as her personal friends.
The concert was opened at 8:15 o'clock by the Worcester philharmonic orchestra, directed by C.F.Hanson. Every member of the orchestra is a pupil of Mr. Hanson, and their services were volunteered. The orchestra played in medley, "Priests march from Athalia," by Mendelssohn, "From foriegn lands," by M??kowski, and "Andante religieuse," by Thorme.
Miss Mae Ruth Layden followed with a reading, "In the tolls of the s????," which served to brighten the program, the reading being a humorous story of a Yale student's experience in attending the boat race.
Thule lodge, I.O.O.F singing club, Albert W. Lofstrom director, followed with these songs in the Swedish language: "Stridsbon," by O. Lindblads, "Serenade," H. Wetterling, "Major Spring song," Silcher, and "Hjartats saga", Astrom.
Members of the singing club are: First tenors: Joseph Mahurtold, Oscar Anderson, Charles Johnson and David E. Anderson: second tenors, Fritz Vorner, Charles Kallstrom, H.B.Lofstrom and Andrew Svenson; first basso, August Blomstrom; second bassos, John Bjork(?), Fredf Olson, Emil Sundholm and La(??) Werme.
Robert S. Illingworth recited, "The prisoners plea" in a manner that brought him much applause and little Miss. Caroline Hickel, 12 years old, came next with a violin solo, "Air Narie." by DeHerio. She was accompanied by Prof. Paul Hultmann on the piano, and her playing produced a hearty favorable comment from the audience, as shown by the hand applause which followed her playing. Little Miss. Hickel appeared at ease with the audience. It was her first appearance before an audience of such size.
Edward D.Lynch of the King-Lynch players read a poetic clipping from a newspaper which bade farewell to Col. John Jacob Astor, in which it was said that while perhaps "Jack" Astor had not always lived as other people wished him to the manner of his death wiped everything away and left him with clean pages.
Prof. Hultmann then appeared and carried the audience into a dreamland of harmony with selections on a grand piano. He played: "La Campanella," By Liszt and "Polanaise in A flat major" by Chopin. When he had completed the effort, the audience refused to be satisfied and applauded 10 minutes or more until Prof. Hultmann appeared and bowed his appreciation before the footlights.
At that point in the program, Rev. Eckstrom took occasion to thank the audience in behalf of Mrs. Asplund. He said " Worcester has many beautiful buildings, splendid educational institutions and is known the world over as an industrious center of prominence, but its greatest and most valuable assets are the spirited men and women."
"When the Titanic accident became known, Worcester lost no time in organizing for relief. At once their idea of
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starting a benefit performance, like the one here this evening, was advanced, and a committee, with his honor, the mayor, as chairman, was elected to arrange for this performance and to solicit funds for those who may be in need of assistance. When it then became known that Mrs. Carl Asplund of Worcester had lost her husband and three oldest children and was left a widow, with two small children, it was decided that what money could be raised should be given to her personally instead of to the general committee in New York."
"On the first night the committee was enlarged to 10 and April 25 it was enlarged to 25. They had four meetings and laid out the routine of work, each member doing something."
"The money collected will be handed over to a board of trustees who will take charge of it and receive such money that may hereafter be given to the same cause. The intention is that these trustees, his honor the mayor and Mr. George N. Johnson shall invest this money and give her the interest every year but should she be in need of some of the capital at any time, the trustees shall be empowered to use their judgement on the ????????."
"The committee owes considerable thanks to Mr. F. Shea for the use of the theater this evening, to all artists who have appeared in this program tonight. (Unintelligable sentence) for its advertising, ?????, for the printing of the programs. We also owe considerable thanks to the (Unintelligable sentences)."
"Allow me to thank the committee and every one who has contributed in oneway or another to make this work a success, but as it is, I can only bring to you the earnest appreciation of Mrs. Asplund and her children for the assistance you have given them."
"We have this afternoon laid Mr. Carl Asplund at rest in the Worcester graveyard. May he rest in peace and the work of this committee and the generous contributors to this fund are certainly the silver lining of the clouds that have come because of the accident upon her life."
"This accident has caused a new chapter in the history of emigration to be written. To risk travelling to the land of the midnight sun: How can people leave such a country!"
"We, the emigrants are often looked upon from a viewpoint of a kind of servant, what kind of servant the girl will make, and what kind of a working man the man will make, but believe me they do not come here for that purpose only. That is only a means to its end. They come here for the endeavor to find a home for themselves which is a Godgiven instinct laid down deeply in every human heart."
"Therefore, it is our duty to show lenient conditions in this, our country, that it may be as easy as possible for people coming here to build up here, on the principle of industry and economy on the field of gold, happy homes."
"We emigrants own two fatherlands and speak two languages, one pertaining to the old world and one to the new, and our hearts are often turned from one to the other. "
"Carl Asplund came here while quite a young man and after having been here a while, the love of his home drew him back to the old homestead to make a visit. After this visit, while here, he married Miss. Selma Johnson. In a few years he returned home to his parents, with his wife and two children, Philip and Clarence. After three months, visit at home the family returned to America and settled down to stay. About six years ????? ??????? father ??? and the mother was helpless, so, it became the duty of the son to go home and take charge of the homestead. He now had two more children with him Lillian and Carl. "
"But if you once had a taste of the life in the new world, it is very hard to stay away from it, and the children became larger and their future became a question for the young family, so it was finally decided to sell the old homestead provide for the material need of the widow mother and again start out for the new world, where their relatives and friends were waiting for them. "
"What happened on their trip is too well known to rehearse, Carl Asplund and his three boys went down in the ????, clinging to each other while the band was playing 'Nearer my God to Thee.'"
"It is our duty to remember the dead and sympathize with living. It is great opportunity for each one of us to place ourselves as assistants to anyone who may need it."
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