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The Oaks Auditorium

The Oaks had an auditorium and boasted it would seat 4,000 patrons. Other references say there was seating for 2,800.

In time, the maintenance of the auditorium became too costly so it was closed and torn down. During its useful days, weekly band concerts were scheduled. Its front steps were used for publicity pictures.

Mr. Cordray was an International entertainment promotor who brought a variety of acts to The Oaks. He always wore a ruby ring that was admired by many. Upon his passing, his ring was given to Edward Bollinger.

Among the visiting bands were John Philip Sousa, Willis E. McElroy and Philip Pelz (a Russian Count Conductor).

In 1911, Philip Pelz had his "March Cordray" published. It was dedicated to Mr. John Cordray (then Manager and later owner of "The Oaks" operating company).

Below is the 1915 program of Sousa's July 25 and 26 concerts at "The Oaks" as well as a July 28, 1915 letter written by Edwin G. Clarke, Sousa's General Manager

Mr. Clarke's July 28, 1915 letter is addressed to John Cordray, Manager, The Oaks.
    In reviewing our recent engagement with you at The Oaks, several points were brought out strongly among which were the following: it was very noticeable that everything around the Park was kept up in first class shape and neatness was very observerable The class of people on the grounds was above the average in quality. The way the public was handled showed a splendid system and the freedom from any rough element was a comfort.

    In speaking of the auditorium, Mr. Sousa expressed great satisfaction with the acoustics, and with the stage condition. He called it "a beautiful place to play." The courteous treatments received by Sousa and his band was greatly appreciated, and our stay with you will go down in our records as being one of the pleasantest and most satisfactory in our experience, thanks to your very efficient management.

    Wishing you the best of success and hoping we may at sometime have another opportunity of doing business with you. I am,
        Yours very truly
        Edwin G. Clarke
        Manager, Sousa's Band
Season 1917 Week May 27 - June 2

Willis E. McElroy, Conductor is joined by Soloists: Miss Eloise Anita Hall (Soprano) and The Progressive Business Men's Quartet and Soloists:

George Eben McElroy (Violinist), Frederick Starke (Oboe), G. Meriggioli (Flute), Chas. Walrath (Horn), B. Heitkemper (Bassoon), R. B. Powell (Trombone), N. A. Norris (Clarinet)

Program Sunday afternoon (beginning at 3 o'clock)
 1."America: . . . Band -
Progressive Business Men's Quartet
 2.  March, "The World's Progress" . . . McElroy
 3.  Overture, "Light Cavalry" . . . Von Suppe
 4. Waltz, "Tres Jolie" . . . Waldteufel
 5. Patriotic Selections, The Business Men's quartet
 6.  Comic Opera Selection,"Ka-tinks" . . . Friml
 7.  Solo, Polonaise from "Mignon" . . .
Thomas, Miss Hall
 8.  Descriptive, "The Phantom Brigade" . . . Myddleton
(A Deam Picture)
 9.  Suite in Four Parts, "Athlantis" . . . Safranek
(The Lost Continent)
    No. 1 - "Nocturne and Morning Hymn of Praise"
    No. 2 - "A Court Function"
    No. 3 - "I Love Thee" (The Prince and Aana)
    No. 4 - "the Destruction of Atlantis."
10.  Finale, " The Star Spangled Banner"

Sousa Letter
Sousa flyer
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Updated 03.03.2013