This DVD, is based on an original presentation on the early life of W.F. Pendleton delivered to the Alnwick Grove Historical Society on April 23, 2012 in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Since that time, the project has greatly expanded in scope and detail beyond that simpler effort.
Putting together the elements for this project into DVD movie format, I discovered a truth that must be known to anyone more experienced than I while in any way engaged in producing entertainment through a visual format. Namely, that while attendees to a “live” talk may listen tolerantly—even charitably—to a speaker aided by only a few slides, the same tolerance is not normally extended by viewers of a DVD on a screen, without the speaker present.
As I reviewed the elements and assembled the various skeletal parts of this project, it became clear—mostly from the dawning realization of my own boredom at viewing the paltry collection of static slides I had originally assembled for my live presentation—that I would have to provide MORE material and do it in a way that was more engaging to solitary viewers. I came to recognize that, while in my original live presentation the slides served as merely the handmaiden to the SPEECH, in a “movie” the VISUAL becomes paramount and the script is subservient to the viewer’s pictorial interest.
This dawning realization of the paucity of the original slides when converted to a “movie” format, launched me on an extended technological adventure I had not intended, nor was I competently prepared to take. But I did take it; and I did complete it, if somewhat reluctantly. For those who attended its live rendition, I hope this somewhat expanded version meets with your approval. Of course for those who are viewing this presentation for the first time, this adaptation is the only reality you will know of my efforts. I hope it meets your expectations.
I received a lot of help from my family along the way, for which I am grateful. My regret is that one of my biggest boosters, my ever-cheerful and encouraging cousin Diana Glenn, whom I visited on the day of my scheduled presentation, was too ill to attend the talk. I had promised to give her the DVD version, but death took her to happier shores before I could fulfill my promise.
“The golden bowel is broken and the silver cord is loosed.”
I apologize for the “less-than-digital” recorded quality of the music from the Civil War played during this DVD. My sound engineer—Mario López—did his superb best to digitally remove the scratches and sound artifacts that are part and parcel of well-used original recorded media. I believe he succeeded with outstanding results.
These songs come from my family’s collection of “The Union” and “The Confederacy” recorded by Columbia Records, published in 1958 on 78-rpm Columbia Masterworks legacy hard vinyl LPs – called “records” for those of you too young to have any knowledge of older recorded media that doesn’t come from iTunes through “the Cloud.”
I listened to these “records” from the time I was 8-years old until I practically wore them out and my sister and brother no longer wanted to be in the same room with me.
The rousing melodies and sad harmonies became like the fabric of an old coat—comfortable and comforting; a connection to an era tenuously hidden behind a misty veil that became more difficult to reach with each passing year—and the passing of each great aunt, as I grew to adulthood.
Additionally, the songs from these records formed the basis for the body of music used to produce The Phi Alpha Minstrel Show in May 1968, put on by the Phi Alpha fraternity—those boys living in Stuart Hall who attended the Academy of the New Church Boy’s School in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.
The last living daughter of W.F. Pendleton—Amena Pendleton Haines—attended a performance of that show held in the old “Assembly Hall”. She told me afterwards, with her customary restrained dignity, that she generally approved of the show, but would have preferred an opening number other than—“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp”—a song the invading Union troops sang, which includes the rousing refrain, “As we were marching through Georgia.”
. . . As they say in the South, “bless her heart.”