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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 506

updated
Saturday, 26 May 2007

FOOTLIGHT NOTES
images of theatre and other popular entertainment
1850s-1920s

Jesse Shepard

Jesse Shepard (1848-1927),
English-born American pianist, singer, composer, spiritualist and author

(photo: unknown, probably USA, circa 1880)

Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard was born at Birkenhead, near Liverpool, England, on 18 September 1848. A naturally gifted musician, he became widely celebrated in the United States and Europe for his extraordinary extemporary performances on the piano. As a writer he used the pen name Francis Grierson, his most notable book being The Valley of Shadows.

For further information, see Wikipedia.

Atlanta, Georgia, December 1881.
'MR. SHEPARD'S CONCERT. - Last night a very good audience assembled at Liberal hall to hear the wonderful performance of Mr. Jesse Shepard, the inspirational artist. While our confidence in the variety of Mr. Shepard's powers were fully established by the indorsements personally given to him by many distinguished people and by the press of the country, we were really more than astonished by his performance. Mr. Shepard plays the piano with a warmth of expression and melodious power, such as we have never before encountered, while his vocalization is truly marvelous. He sings a duo, his own strange voice giving the distinction and running in register from basso to the highest soprano. It is indeed a miracle of nature combining in one throat the ability to sustain a high artistic score in dual tones. It is by no means our purpose to write "a puff" of this gentleman. His powers need no such aid to recognition. We are glad that he will remain to give another concert on Monday evening next, as requested by a vote of last evening's audience, and we commend this occasion to the certain patronage of all who are versed in music as well as to those who are curious about the phenomenal in nature.'
(The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, Friday, 9 December 1881, p.2f)

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