"The 1812 Overture"


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The Poca Post is pleased to announce the issuance of a new stamp honoring the first performance of
Tschiakowsky's "1812 Overture" on the Poca River.

It is a little known fact that cannonballs were made for the War of 1812 in Weirton, West Virginia. There also came from Weirton a young musician named Hiram Hapworth. He had made his way to the Poca River Valley by the late 1800s, and had found a position as music director of the Poca River Free Baptist Church. While in this position, Hiram developed the notion of performing the "1812 Overture" in recognition of West Virginia's part in that war.

He organized a rather large group of musicians from Bancroft, Pliny, Eleanor, Buffalo and Winfield. Hiram felt that the musical directions of the score had to be followed exactly, and since the score calls for cannon shots, he planned accordingly.

On the third Saturday night of August, 1896 most of the population of the valley gathered for the concert.

Some old Civil War veterans were found to prepare the cannon, and they did so much as they had done 30 years earlier. As a result, the concert ended abruptly in the 3rd movement when the cannon fired a 16 pound ball into the chest of Hiram Hapworth. For many years afterward folks spoke of this memorable concert.

This stamp was issued in the denomination of 10 pu (Poca Units) in a pane containing 9 stamps.

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