Stoughton's Singing History

A multi-media DVD about singing meetings and concerts in Stoughton over two centuries, with images, music and a one hour video, "A Stoughton Musicfest."

Way back in the 18th century the first known singing meetings took place in the area, which led to the formation of a musical society.  This society, now known as The Old Stoughton Musical Society, is the oldest one of its kind in the U.S. and also possibly the entire world.   They were organized at the home of Robert Capen then located at the corner of Park and Seaver Streets in Stoughton

To commemorate the anniversary of the first known singing meetings in town, a special multi-media DVD has been prepared. Titled, “Old Stoughton – Singing Meetings and Concerts,” it covers 200 years of singing from 1762 to 1962 with over 100 files,  including historical information about past singing meetings, many of them held on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  The DVD also contains an image gallery of old sheet music and town scenes, plus a one hour video program featuring singers from the Old Stoughton Musical Society and the Stoughton elementary schools and Stoughton High School instrumental ensembles. In addition, there are two albums with 40 music examples of tunes performed in Stoughton over the past few decades, including such popular patriotic songs as “Yankee Doodle” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”     

It was common in the Colonial days to name tunes after local towns.  One of them was named “Stoughton” and composed by William Billings of Boston, a friend of Sam Adams and other Boston patriots.  Billings taught an early singing school in Stoughton in 1774.  Another tune of local interest is titled, “Old Stoughton,” by Stoughton’s best known 19th century composer, Edwin A. Jones, who was also active in town activities and designed the Stoughton Town Seal which is still used.  A third song of local interest is titled “Peace.” It was composed in 1981 for the Centennial of Stoughton Town Hall and set to a poem by a Stoughton teenage girl during the War of 1812.  This song was performed again in “A Stoughton Musicfest,” at the Stoughton Public Library, and the video program is included on this multi-media DVD.             

For more information about music in Stoughton and this informative multi-media DVD see this online link:

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