Thousand Voices Join at Holyoke in Public Hymns

by Laurel | April 15th, 2010

April 15, 1945

City Climaxes Day of Mourning for Late President by Gathering at City Hall in Solemn Chorus.

The observance of the day of mourning for President Franklin D. Roosevelt was brought to a public climax at 4 this afternoon when several thousand gathered beside the City Hall to sing hymns. The gathering was in response to a public appeal by Mayor Henry J. Toepfert directed principally to school children. The dinging was directed by William E. Holderidge, musical director of the Holyoke Public Schools, and those who lent their voices to the chorus numbered about 1000. The remainder were mostly solemn spectators.

Assisting Mr. Holderidge was the Holyoke High School band under director Fred Grady. Mimeographed copies of the words were distributed. Many school teachers scattered throughout the gathering assisting in carrying the singing which on the better known hymns attained quite a volume for outdoor singing. Mayor Toepfert, Superintendent of Schools William R. Peck and many school principals and teachers attended, as well as other city officials.

There were about a dozen police officers and an equal number of auxiliary policemen. High street was blocked off from Dwight to City Hall court and bus traffic was routed to Dwight and Maple street.

All general stores of the city were closed today, food and drugstores were closed from 1 to 6, as were the licensed liquor places. Motion picture theaters suspended performances until 6 tonight.

Not noticeable in the general observance was a brief suspension of telephone service at 4 and the stilling of war industries for a five minute period at the same time.

From the Springfield Republican.

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