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San Francisco’s “Music Week”

In 1921, from October 30th to November 6th, San Francisco held its very own “Music Week.” The first of these weeks occurred in New York the year before and given its success, the “movement,” as The Chronicle called it, found popularity in large cities across the country the following year. San Francisco’s week was organized by the Community Service Recreation League, in collaboration with local musical societies, schools, and musicians. The Chronicle’s Ray C.B. Brown reported that this musical movement was intended as a community building event, rooted in “the conviction… that more can be accomplished for the musical progress of the Nation through mass psychology than through individual efforts.” In anticipation of the city’s first “Music Week” – before the lineup had been announced and before the sponsors had been lined up – Brown added: “That San Francisco’s music week will be a success is a foregone conclusion.”

Brown was right. The week was indeed a success. One notable performance happened on November 2nd, when 10,000 San Francisco music students gathered together to give a concert in Exposition Auditorium. The students ranged from 7th grade to high school and were led by the public schools’ director of music Estelle Carpenter.

Here is a photo of Estelle Carpenter teaching a music class in Golden Gate Park in April 1906.

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library