After one month in my new role I am quickly learning that the mission and tradition of the Hormel Historic Home covers many areas but most specifically hospitality, music, and education. Last Saturday I was fortunate to be a part of that mission by helping to host the first annual Harris Piano Competition. This event was made possible by a financial gift from MarySue Hormel Harris who is the granddaughter of Ben Hormel, George’s youngest brother.
I have gleaned from the little research I have been able to do that the Hormels were an incredibly musical family. This interest in music was passed through the generations and MarySue is an accomplished pianist herself. She generously supports the musical endeavors that the HHH sponsors and was thrilled that the Home would be sponsoring this contest.
35 youth from Austin and the surrounding area shared their talent, and I was amazed by them all. So much poise and composure was shown and I know that George and Lillian would have also been impressed. The gorgeous grand piano that stands in the Hormel’s living room sounded glorious when played by such motivated and confident performers. St. Olaf Lutheran Church and The Paramount shared their space and pianos with us as well so that we could have so many kids compete at the same time and I know those sites were also blessed with great performances.
Music was also a popular feature in the HHH during the time of the YWCA. A February 9, 1928, article reports the festivities from a Membership Party held at the Y…
“In the afternoon Lorna Bluhm favored the company with two vocal solos, “Where Dreams Are Made” by Johnson, and “The Wind “ by Spross. She was accompanied on the piano by Constance Becker. William Alderson played two piano selections, “A Nocturne” by Slater and “To the Rising Sun” by Torjussen, and Mrs. Ray Pooler sang a vocal solo, “ Mignon”-d’Hardelo, accompanied by Mrs. Fred Rayman at the piano. An evening program is also described in the article as was the social half hour following the program where the tables were decorated with “pink tapers in green candle holders with pink roses in a green glass bowl as a centerpiece”.
Although we didn’t adorn the House or the Paramount with candles and flowers we were entertained with wonderful music. So the music mission is still very much alive at the HHH and will be continued for years to come.