Music for Laura Hespeler performed for the first time in 159 years

Midnight Galop - Geo. C Pettit
Midnight Galop for Miss Laura Hespeler
The immense impact that Jacob Hespeler had on the development of the community of Hespeler, Ontario cannot be understated. I compiled 500 page book based on Winfield Brewster's writings, "Hespeler History - The Authorized Winfield Brewster Collection". The book goes into great detail of Jacob's accomplishments.
Much less is known about his children. Ellonora "Laura" Hespeler, his daughter, was born in 1847 in Preston, Ontario. By 1861 she was living in Hespeler, Ontario. In 1868 she married John Walker from London, Ontario at Jacob Hespeler’s house in town. They had no children and her husband died in 1889.

Music Written for Miss Laura Hespeler

Prior to her being married, a piece of music was written for Laura in 1864. It was written by Geo. C. Pettit. I have been unable to find information on Mr. Pettit. Laura would have been 17 at the time.
The song for piano is titled, “Midnight Galop”. The sheet music was published by A. & S. Nordheimer Co of Toronto and Montreal. Nordheimer began to publish sheet music after its’ move to Toronto in 1844. Most publications were for piano or voice and piano. Copyright registrations were undertaken in the USA.

Galop music according to Britannica is: a lively and playful social dance that was popular as a ballroom dance in 19th-century England and France. Except for the accent, it bore similarities to both the polka and the waltz. In performing the galop, the man put his right hand around his partner’s waist and with his left hand held her right hand; the couple danced the galop’s simple step side by side—slide (or glide), close (chassé), slide—around the ballroom to music in 2/4 time. The galop often served as the last dance in a ball.

While not the most creative of Galops, it is still remarkable that we have a song from 1864 (that is pre-confederation of Canada!) Thanks to Yellow Brick Music, we've even got a rough recording of “Midnight Galop” as it was originally written 159 years ago. 
We will never know if George was commissioned to do the work for Laura, or he did it as a gift. One thing we do know we have brought this small part of Hespeler's history back to life.

Here is a LINK to download the sheetmusic so you can play it at home if you are pianist. Note in the right hand corner of the sheet music is writing that looks like it is either from Laura's sister or brother.

For those interested in hearing a more polished version of galop music here are two links. One is an orchestra playing a Strauss galop piece.( ) The second is dancers performing a galop piece. ( )



Popular Posts