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Williston Philharmonic Orchestra
Williston Philharmonic Orchestra
TitleWilliston Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Original1923
DescriptionThe Williston Philharmonic Orchestra sits on stage with their instruments. The conductor stands in the center with a piano behind him. The man standing in the back is holding a string bass, and percussion and cello players are also in the back. On the right sit clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone players. On the left sit violin, viola and a flute player. A painted backdrop of a mountain scene hangs behind the orchestra on stage.
General SubjectSports & recreation
Bands, clubs & societies
Subject (LCTGM)Orchestras
Musical instruments
Wind instruments
Brass instruments
Stringed instruments
Stages (Platforms)
Personal NameOlesen, Louis H.
Gray, R. J.
Snyder, Mrs. John
Pasonault, Joseph Ernest, 1875-1945
Wells, Rodney
Lee, Emil
Black, W. E.
Beisel, Mrs. J. A.
Held, Nick
Nelson, Walter
Cormany, Boyde
Mockel, George
Kemper, Carol
Marelius, Paul
McGibbon, Paul
Westdal, Knute
Keyes, Harold
Snyder, John C.
Kelly, Vaughn
Rickard, E.
Bell, Oscar W.
Crow, Wm.
Buss, O. F.
Arsenault, A. J.
Gillette, Leo
Bell, Mrs. Oscar
Frank, Dale
Suckstorff, H.
Cormany, W. F.
Butler, Don
Settle, Virginia
Albertsen, Anton
Organization NameWilliston Philharmonic Orchestra (Williston, N.D.)
LocationWilliston (N.D.)
Item Number1-73-7-26
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Dimensions of Original14 x 23 cm.
Transcription"Page 49 Philharmonic Orchestra 100%, Return to Shemorry" -- Handwritten on note on back of photograph.
NotesPhotographer unknown.
Biography/HistoryWilliam E. "Bill" Shemorry was a native of Williston, N.D. who began work in the newspaper industry as a newsboy selling the Williston Herald and the Williams County Farmers Press. In 1953, he started to publish the Williston Plains Reporter, which he operated for 25 years before selling to the Williston Herald. Shemorry then began to concentrate on his own writing and photography. In addition to writing many books on the history of Williams County, he also collected photographs of early North Dakota photographers. Shemorry was an active member of the Williston Fire Department, was Civil Defense Chief of Williams County for three years in the 1950s, and was a combat photographer in World War II. Shemorry's photograph of the discovery of oil in North Dakota on April 4, 1951 at the Clarence Iverson No. 1 is one of the most famous oil photographs ever taken, and was published in many national publications.
"During the early 1920's Williston had a full-fledged symphony orchestra which played concerts in the New Grand Theatre Sunday afternoons during the spring months. Its organizers included Louis H. Olesen, the conductor, and R. J. Gray, who played the first chair in the violin section and was also concertmaster. Mrs. John Snyder was soloist. Instrumentalists were: Violins, J. E. Pasonault, Rodney Wells, Emil Lee, W. E. Black, Mrs. J. A. Beisel, Nick Held, Walter Nelson; clarinets, Boyde Cormany, George Mockel, flute, Carol Kemper; cornets, Pauol Marelius, Paul McGibbon; horns, Knute Westdal, Harold Keyes; alto saxophones, JOhn C. Snyder, Vaughn Kelly; bariton saxophone, E. Rickard; bassoon, Oscar W. Bell; trombones, Wm. Crow, O.F. Buss; basses, A. J. Arsenault, Leo Gillette; piano, Mrs. Oscar Bell; Marimbaphone-chimes, Dale Frank; drums, H. Suckstorff, W.F. Cormany; bells, Don Butler."
Bibliographic ReferenceInformation on the Williston Philharmonic Orchestra derived from Shemorry's book: Photo 100: Nostalgic Highlights of a Century, p. 49.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionWilliam E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection Mss 10958
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-73-7-26)
Rights ManagementPermission to reproduce this image must be requested from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Ordering InformationTo order a reproduction, inquire about the collection, or provide information about an image, please email Emily E. Schultz at
Digital IDws173
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