By Dawn Aerts
Iron County Today
ENOCH–It was ‘stepping back in time’ as more than 16 musicians and descendants of the original Enoch Orchestra gathered together to celebrate with 70 attendees the musical heritage of the Irish, the Scots and the Brits at a special St. Patrick’s Day performance at the Old School Library in Enoch.
The event, hosted by the Friends of the Enoch Library, was organized by Gaylen and Amy Matheson who hope to highlight the talent of current Orchestra members at various venues in Iron County. “Many of the young people performing tonight are related to members of the original Enoch Orchestra that played at events dating back to March, 4, 1917 – after the early Cultural Hall was completed (1914).
According to Matheson, some residents still remember the early (music) Hall with its lively community dances where the orchestra played for receptions, farewells and the occasional road-show. “They say the music brought out the neighbors from the entire Valley for refreshments, dancing and social-time,” said Matheson — a reprieve from the otherwise hard-working-farm life.
The newly-former Enoch Orchestra played traditional favorites from the past, and cultural music that evoked memories of the early immigrants that settled in (Johnson Springs) later called Enoch; and into the Cedar Valley area. The evening also featured traditional Irish dance clogging by Megan Shields and vocalists, Melissa Lebaron and Cory Call accompanied by accordion, banjo, clarinet, fiddle, flute, guitar and piano.
The newly ‘revived’ Enoch Orchestra will be featured at the Frontier Homestead Museum, Folk Festival set for Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23.
“We are hoping to bring the music of these early Iron County pioneers and musicians back to the stage,” said Matheson, “For the community to enjoy once again.”
Facing orchestra left to right front row: Megan Shields (descendant of Joel Hills Johnson the founder of Enoch and author of 1000 songs); Deborah Grimshaw (related to William Henry Grimshaw the first director of the Enoch Orchestra); Melissa Lebaron (related to all Strattons of the area); Laura Melling (related to the Mellings and Jones of the Enoch Orchestra); Andrea Jones (related to John Lee Jones and Myron Jones the famous fiddlers of the Old Enoch Orchestra); Trevor Sanders; Brooke Sanders; Kelsey Sanders (the Sanders are related to the Garfield families of Enoch and Cedar); Back Row left to right: Linda Wilson (descendant of Joel Hills Johnson the founder of Enoch); Angie McArthur (descendant of Joel Hills Johnson the founder of Enoch); Amy Matheson (related to the Mathesons of the Enoch Orchestra) Adam Grimshaw (descendant of William Henry Grimshaw, the first director of the Enoch Orchestra from 1908-1920s), Jordan Maxwell (descendant of the Maxwells and Mathesons of the Enoch Orchestra); Cory Call (related to the Fifes in Fife Town); and Patti Davis (descendant of the Bettridge families of Parowan and Cedar City).