Updated Thu, Feb 27, 2014 1:28 pm
Wednesday, March 12 • 9:30 p.m.
“Titanic – Band Of Courage” is the dramatic and inspiring story of the eight musicians who continued to play on as the ship went down in a valiant effort to provide peace, calm and dignity to those facing certain death. Featuring 18 new recordings, many taken from the officially issued White Star Songbook, the program tells the story of the courageous band through the music they would have played that night, along with archival photos, and interviews with experts on the sinking of the great ship, the era and its music.
The story of the band and their legendary bravery in the face of death made news around the world at the time. As the London Daily Mirror reported on April 23, 1912: “In the whole history of the sea, there is little equal to the wonderful behavior of these humble players, who, in the last moments of the great ship’s doom, when all was plainly lost, when braver and hardier men might almost have been excused for doing practically anything to save themselves, stood responsive to their conductor’s baton.”
Titanic survivor Lawrence Beesley said of the band: “Many brave things were done that night, but none more brave than by those men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea and the sea rose higher and higher to where they stood; the music they played serving alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recorded on the rolls of undying fame.”
The new recordings featured in the program are from the White Star Songbook that was provided to the musicians and first and second-class passengers. Each composition was recorded in the style, arrangement and instrumentation as it was heard on the Titanic – many of the songs from the last night.
A blend of overtures, waltzes, popular/ragtime and hymns, the Songbook reflected the music of the day. Included in “Titanic – Band Of Courage” are “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Pleasant Moments,” “Maple Leaf Rag,” “Londonderry Air,” “Oh, You Beautiful Doll,” “Frankie & Johnny,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “Songe D’Automne,” “Madama Butterfly,” “Ave Maria” and “Nearer My God To Thee.”
In addition to the featured music and performance, the story is told with commentary and interviews from experts on the era, the ship, the music and the night of the sinking, with insight into the musicians, where they were, what they did and most importantly why they played on the deck that night — supported by archival footage, photos, renderings, original location footage and dramatic footage of Titanic as it rests now on the ocean floor of the North Atlantic.
The Titanic has fascinated the world for over one hundred years and many stories are yet to be shared as the investigation into the people who sailed on her in April 1912 continues to be developed by the experts who are associated with this special.