BANGOR PIANO SCHOOL
A SCHOOL OF PUBLIC PERFORMANCE
FREDERICK MARINER, Director
Bangor, Maine Mch. 13, 1905
Miss Harriet P. Means
My dear Miss Means,
It may be a help to you in your teaching work if I write you these few lines, in a way an unsolicited testimonial to your advancement under my instruction during the past few months.
I found you ever a most painstaking and careful student and your progress was marked, and very pleasing to me, you instructor.
I am sure that in the work you have gone over with me and in its application to pupils you are most competent to instruct others and after sufficient experience in this particular time of your musical development will not only be pleased with your own work but will find your class of pupils and their parents must [be] appreciative of your efforts and the good results obtained from your systematic instruction.
Wishing you all success. I am ever
Yours very truly
Mariner included a newspaper article with his unsolicited reference letter, as my grandmother Harriet formally begins her career as a pianist. It is rather tattered now, 106 years later. She graduated from Bangor Piano School in 1905 and became an instructor under the renowned Frederick Mariner who had a summer home on the Penobscot River. Mariner’s studio was in NYC but he accepted gifted students at the Bangor Piano School.
The Bangor Piano School was located in The Morse Oliver building at the corner of Exchange and State Streets. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1911.
“Unquestionably the worst disaster to strike the Queen City, the Great Fire of 1911 reshaped the city’s landscape, burning 55 acres, destroying 267 buildings, damaging 100 more and causing $3,188,081.90 in losses and damage. The conflagration left 75 families homeless, most of whom had lived from Harlow Street to Center Street to lower French Street. It destroyed more than 100 businesses during a nine-hour span.”
The Music Scene in Bangor, Maine 1907. Published in The Musical Courier, Volume 54, Column two.
Music in Maine
January 21, 1917
“Bangor Music teachers resumed teaching January 7, the date of the reopening of public schools. Mrs. ET Wasgatt who might be styled the dean of vocal instructors in the city, spent several weeks in Boston, enjoying rest and inspiration thereby.
Harriet Means, instructor at the Mariner Studios, spent her vacation at her home in Machias.
The regular Thursday recitals were resumed at the Bangor Piano School January 10, with a program of nine numbers, three of which were vocal the entire class singing, with different pupils accompanying at the piano. This feature has been lately introduced to promote broader musical culture to fit pupils for playing accompaniments when called upon by Mrs. Tilton in the public schools. Graded material is used, so that pupils of all ages can have this training. After this part of the program was completed the director presented in condensed form the story of the leading events of the early life of Beethoven….”
Original Letter from Frederick Mariner to Harriet Means