John B. Shirley (1860-1954)
The public schools of Lansingburgh are making preparations for the commencement exercises which will take place in June. The musical features will include choruses by between 700 and 800 children. Prof. John B. Shirley, the musical director of the schools, has begun rehearsals on the “William Tell” overture, arranged for three parts, the grand chorus “Viva,” Bristow, and the chorus “Foot Traveler,” Abt.
An interesting Arbor day program will be given Friday, May 5, at the Haskell school. The exercises will begin at 1:30 p.m. A chorus of about 100 under Professor Shirley will be heard. A number of part songs will be given. There will be a trio, “A Little Farm Well Tilled,” Hook, and a lullaby, by Brahms, will be sung by six boys.
Troy Daily Times. August 25, 1893: 4 col 3.
The exercises at the soldiers’ plat in oakwood will commence at 3 o’clock. The program will be as follows:
Overture march, “Queen of Sheba,” Gounod, Doring’s Band; prayer, Rev. Charles H. Walker, Upper Troy; chorus, “The Star Spangled Banner,” pupils from the public schools, Prof. John B. Shirley, director; G. A. R. ritual service; reading Orders of the Day, M. C. Aspinwall, Commander Post Bolton; music, Idyll, “In Memoriam,” Bendix, Doring’s Band; Dury of the Day, Edwin A. Fry, Past Commander, Post Griswold; three-part song, “Tenting To-night,” arranged by John B. Shirley, chorus; Festival of the Dead, James M. Snyder, Past Commander Post Tibbits; music, sacred, “Ein Maerchen,” Bach, Doring’s Band; decorating the graves, Major John P. Treanor, Commander Camp Russell; chorus, “Stars and Stripes,” Sousa, chorus; address, Rev. Frederick L. Decker, Upper Troy; our national hymn, “America,” arranged by John B. Shirley, chorus; benediction, Rev. Dr. Charles M. Nickerson.
“For Memorial Day.” Troy Daily Times. May 29, 1901: 3 col 3.
Shirley, John B. School and Festival Songs. NY: American Book Co, 1907.
Shirley, John B. Part Songs for Girls’ Voices. NY: American Book Co., 1908. https://books.google.com/books?id=fbtMAQAAIAAJ
Shirley, John B. Part Songs for Mixed Voices. NY: American Book Co., 1909. https://books.google.com/books?id=D8JpOMl0F5cC
Shirley, John B. Two-part Songs for Intermediate Grades. NY: American Book Co, 1911.
John B. Shirley, 94, superintendent of music in the Lansingburgh public schools 44 years until his retirement in 1937, died yesterday in Shaver’s Nursing Home, Eagle Mills. He had resided there since late June.
Widely known in the music world as composer, author, vocalist and director, Mr. Shirley observed his 94th birthday anniversary last August when friends called at the Shaver home, took him riding and climaxed the day with a party in his honor.
The Shirley residence is at 81 2nd Ave. Surviving is his widow, the former Henriette C. Shirlaw.
Though born in New York City, Mr. SHirley lived in Scotland for many years. He was taken then when five years old, and did not return to the United States until he had reached manhood.
Since his retirement from the Lansingburgh public school system, he had spent his winters in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he became active in several musical organizations.
While in Scotland, Mr. Shirley was interested in the vocal aspect of music, and he won acclaim as being one of th ebest basses in that country. He won the Scottish gold medal at Glasgow one year in a contest with 400 singers aspiring for the honor.
While serving as music superintendent in Lansingburgh, Mr. Shirley composed numerous songs and published several books. He composed “Hudson River Boat Song” and, in 1912, “We Are For T. R.” His first book, “School and Festival Songs,” was bought by the American Book Co. Two-thirds of its contents are his works, the remainder compiled by him. Several of his books were prominent text-books, namely, “Part Songs For Mixed Voices” and “Two-Part Songs For Intermediate Grades.”
Mr. Shirley for many years was director of the music department at the Summer Institute for New York State Teachers at Thousand Island Park, was active in the Troy Vocal Society, directed the Tourista Harmony Quartet and was a member of the Burns Club.
He founded and at the time of his death was director emeritus of the Three-Quarter Century Chorusin St. Petersburg. He also was a member of the St. Petersburg Chapter, American Guild of Organists.
Mr. Shirley was an elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church and a member of Apollo Commandery.
Funeral services will be conducted privately at 11 a.m. Friday from the Clark & Blake Memorial Chapel, 818 River St. Rev. Leon S. DeSmidt, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, will officiate. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery.
Times Record. December 8, 1954: 11 cols 3-4.
The funeral of John B. Shirley, 94, widely known musician and former superintendent of music for Lansingburgh public schools, was held at 11 a.m. today from the Clark & Blake Memorial Chapel, 818 River St.
Rev. Leon S. DeSmidt, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, officiated. Interment was in Oakwood Cemetery.
All bearers, all nephews, were: James G. Shirley, John G. Shirley, George Folts, Alexander Gillespie, Stuart Gillespie and William Gillespie.
Delegations from the Troy Burns Club, the Troy Vocal Society, several Masonic organizations, and fellow elders of Westminster Presbyterian Church visited the funeral home last night.
Times Record. December 10, 1954: 22 col 4.
Mrs. Harold Petrie presented two volumes of music to the Lansingburgh Historical Society at a brief meeting preceding the Christmas party Wednesday evening in the Heart Room of the United Methodist Church of Lansingburgh.
They are “Festival Songs” and “Two-Part Songs for Intermediate Grades” by Prof. John B. Shirley, onetime director of music in the Lansingburgh Schools.
President Benjamin Romp announced the progress of the plans for the bicentennial celebration to be held in Lansingburgh in 1971.
Entertainment was furnished by James J. Tuffey, banjoist, with mrs. Myrtle Mealy accompanying at the piano. Thomas Beckett led guests in singing Christmas carols and old ballads. Hostesses included Mrs. Alan Read, Mrs. Leslie Weaver, Mrs. Romp and Mrs. Lloyd Shakely.
Hostesses for the January meeting will be Miss Ruth Clarkson and Miss Mae Murley.
Times Record. December 14, 1970: 21 col 5.