An exuberant picture book applauds the man behind the 1869 National Peace Jubilee, the largest and loudest concert the world had ever seen -- or heard.
As a young boy growing up in Ireland, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore loved music -- the louder, the better! This love of music followed him to Boston in 1849, where he became a bandleader. During the brutal Civil War, it was music that kept up his spirits and those of his fellow soldiers. So when the war ended and peace was restored to the country, Patrick had an idea. He would create the biggest, boldest, loudest concert the world had ever known to celebrate. A peace jubilee! But with twelve cannons, forty church bells, one thousand musicians, and ten thousand singers, just how would all of this sound? Matt Tavares's spirited illustrations burst with sound words in perfect harmony with Alicia Potter's triumphant story of the joy of music.
Grades 2-5. You may have heard of the famous band leader known as the Great Gilmore. This title’s closing author’s note provides the full scoop: Patrick Gilmore wrote When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again and instituted Boston’s annual Fourth of July concert. But readers of this lengthy, satisfying picture book will experience Gilmore’s greatness more gradually. Potter centers her book on Gilmore’s mission to have a four-day jubilee concert at the end of the Civil War encompassing 10,000 singers, 1,000 musicians, 12 cannons, 40 church bells, and the world’s largest pipe organ, all held in the largest public building yet erected in the U.S.: the Temple of Peace. Potter maintains suspense throughout—no concert this large had ever been attempted, and critics were vehement that it could only produce cacophony. Tavares’ watercolor-and-gouache paintings magnificently capture crowds, street scenes, and individual expressions, while the typeface makes the individual instrumental and street sounds leap from the page. It’s just as Potter writes at the book’s end: So very, very LOUD! And so very, very beautiful.