Everyone A Gibsonite

Promotional photo for 1921 Gibson Mandolin Company "Catalog M". Ivers Mandolin Orchestra/Adams Plectrum Society, Adams, Massechusetts.

Members I can identify: Center Middle Row: Joseph Ivers, Orchestra leader, Gibson Mandolin Company Agent,and my Great Grandfather, Center Left Holding a Gibson F-4 Mary Ivers-Bassette, my Great Grandmother, Back Row from left: Leonore Ivers-Carmel, my Great Aunt, George Ivers, my Grandfather, Sitting in front, white dress, Doris Ivers-Hueston, my Great Aunt.

Page 21 Gibson Mandolin Catalog M: See right side second photo from bottom

Page 21 Gibson Mandolin Catalog M: See right side second photo from bottom
I recently discovered that this photo of my Great grandfather's Mandolin Orchestra appears on page 21 of the Gibson "M" catalog, published in 1921, confirming my theory that he (Joseph L. Ivers) was a Gibson "teacher-agent" or dealer, and that this photo was part of the "Everyone a Gibsonite" marketing campaign. Some of these instruments are still owned and played by Ivers family members. For example, my father Robert Ivers still plays the 1914 F4 in the center played by my Great Grandmother Mary Ivers in this photo. He also owns a 1921 H2 Mandola, no doubt pictured brand spanking new somewhere in this photo. I would love to try to contact other family members to see where some of these other instruments ended up.

Water Color "Grandfather's Mandolin" by Robert Ivers of Gibson F-4 #24532

Water Color "Grandfather's Mandolin" by Robert Ivers of Gibson F-4 #24532
Water Color Of My Great Grand Father's F4 painted by my Father, Robert Ivers. Look !!!!!!! Notice unintended ghost image of my Great Grandfather Joseph Ivers in upper left !

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rest in Peace. Ed Harmon.

Last week Ed Harmon passed away. Ed was a long time member of The Summer Strummers, Chautauqua Institute's favorite sing along string band. Ed played Mandolin, Ukulele, The Saw, and sang in the Summer Strummers. Ed Harmon also entertained as an accomplished ventriloquist, and was a talented cartoonist who's work was published in the Chautauqua Daily. 

When remembering Ed, my father Robert Ivers said, "He took great pride in his collection of string instruments and his knowledge of the lyrics of folk tunes from decades past. Although we always kidded about who was the "First Mandolin" in the Summer Strummers, Ed will always be first. We had great fun playing together. I will miss him." 

Here's the copy from the obituary printed in the Tampa Bay Times:

HARMON, Edward Of Tampa and Chautauqua, NY. Beloved husband of Ellen; devoted father of Jon (Cindy), Amy Snodgrass (Jeff) and Jill Fairman (Frank), and loving grandfather to his nine grandchildren, died on Nov. 3, at age 86. Originally from New York City, Ed was a WWIIveteran, a graduate of New York University and a Principal of P.S. 79 in Queens, NY. A renaissance man, Ed had a multitude of interests. An educational innovator, he also had a lifelong involvement in music both as a performer and aficionado. His keen sense of humor was clearly illustrated in his decades long work as a cartoonist. Ed published four books and his editorial cartoons were regularly featured in The Chautauqua Daily. All who knew Ed will miss him, each in a different and special way, for he touched all who were lucky enough to be his friend. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association: FSH Society, Inc. BBRI R353, 64 Grove Street, Watertown, MA 02472 A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 12:30 pm; Aston Gardens, 11741 Lake Aston Ct., Tampa

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The 2012 Summer Strummers The Chautauqua Institute's favorite sing along string band, The Summer Strummers had another successful run of summer performances. As always any proceeds went to help Chautauqua Institute Music School Scholarships. Pretty much the same line up as last year.
 One change this year is Ed Harmon switching from mandolin to ukulele.
This left my father Robert Ivers as the lone mandolin player in the group.My dad mentioned that he felt a little pressure carrying the melody as the only mandolin player, but that there was melody help from horn and violin players that were able to sit in.

I should be able to post some video of some performance from the 2012 Summer Strummers soon. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

H2 Mandola #66429 Still Looks and Sounds Beautiful.

I visited my parents recently, and my father got out one of the Ivers family heirloom's: The Gibson H2 Mandola # 66429. It dates from probably 1921, and is most likely pictured in the 1921 Ivers Mandolin Orchestra Gibson promotional photo at the top of this Blog. There's more about this instrument below, in the side bar of the Blog.  My dad played it for while, sight reading from some American Songbook material, and it really sounded great. Lots of sustain, and quite a bit different than what I'm used to hearing from a mandolin. I also payed it on and off for the few days I was there visiting. It's a real workout, when compared to playing a smaller neck, narrower space between frets, and lighter gauge strings of a mandolin. It takes some getting used to, but what a great  tone, and nice change of pace from a mandolin.  Really nice deep woody tone.

Here's my dad playing it. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Remarkable Collection of Gibson Mandolin Family Instruments

I spotted this great photo on the Mandolin Central website. What an incredible collection, including the original cases. A complete  "Everyone A Gibsonite" set of instruments ready to go. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

RIP My Great Aunt Doris Hueston- Ivers

My Great Aunt Doris Hueston- Ivers passed away last week. She was 101 years old. She is survived by her son Larry Hueston. She was, as far as I know, the last remaining living member pictured in the "Adams Plectral Society" Gibson Promotional photo at the top of this blog. In the picture of the "Ivers Mandolin Orchestra" above she is wearing a white dress seated front and center, with an angelic gaze, directly in front of my Great Grandfather Joseph Ivers who was a Gibson Mandolin Company sales agent, a Mandolin Orchestra leader, and music teacher. My great Aunt Doris was probably around 10 or 11 years old when this photo appeared in the 1921 Gibson Mandolin Company Catalog. She's holding what looks like probably a H2 Mandola. Many years ago my Great Aunt Doris gave my father Robert Ivers a 1915 F4 mandolin which he played up until two years ago, when he gave it to me to play and take care of.  More recently she also gave my father a 1921 H2 Mandola, which he still has and plays today. Both of these instruments are pictured in the 1921 Gibson Promotional photo above, and are well documented on this blog, and listed on the Mandolin Archive website. Rest in peace my Great Aunt Doris.

Here's some information my father sent me in an email a year or two ago, before my great Aunt Doris passed away in which he talks about a phone conversation he had with her regarding what she remembered about my Great Grandather Joseph Ivers, and the Mandolin Orchestra:

I just got off the phone with Doris. She is 97 and rambled about the family as follows:
My granddad, her father, lived in Adams, Mass. when the picture was taken of the mandolin band. The picture was taken sometime between 1922 and 1923 in the Adams, Mass. High School auditorium where the band performed. (The recollection of this date is inaccurate as the photo appeared in a 1921 Gibson Catalog)  The band was called the "Gibsonians". He purchased all of the mandolins directly from Kalamzoo where the Gibson company manufactured the mandolins. At the same time, my grandfather, ran the cotton mill owned by the "Renfrew Manufacturing Company", one of two mills in Adams. He and Nana, my grandmother, played bridge with the other plant manager every Saturday night. The cotton was shipped from the south and made into cloth at his mill.  He had the first automobile in Adams. Granddad was from a musical family. (one of 13 children). Doris said that the family was an association with a slate of officers, held meetings etc. (This may have been like a corporation) He was one of five brothers who sang "in public" he was a tenor. His father was Welch. The Welch have been known for their good voices.His mother was Irish and was born in County Cork, Ireland.
Doris said "grandad was a wonderful organizer" - witness his twi-light baseball league founding, his political organizing, and the Adams "Old Home Week" which he chaired for many years.
Nana's (my Great Grand Mother; also pictured holding the F-4 in the orchestra photo) family was from Montreal. Doris said that they were musical also. "opera singers and lawyers."
I hope this answers some of your questions. Doris is the only source I have about my father's side of the family.