George H. Coes

Infobox Musical artist
Name = George H. Coes


Img_capt = George H. Coes
Img_size = 80px
Landscape = no
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = 1828
Died = March 16, 1897
Origin = Providence, Rhode Island
Instrument = banjo
Voice_type =
Genre = Minstrel show
Occupation =
Years_active = 1852-1889
Label =
Associated_acts = Luke Schoolcraft
URL =
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

George H. Coes (1828 - March 16, 1897) was an American minstrel music performer. He appeared in numerous minstrel shows in California and throughout the Northeast.

Early life

Coes was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1828.

Career in minstrelsy

Minstrelsy was America's first original contribution to the theater arts. [ cite book| last = Bean| first = Annemarie | authorlink = | coauthors = James Vernon Hatch and Brooks McNamara | title = Inside the minstrel mask: readings in nineteenth-century blackface minstrelsy | publisher = Wesleyan University Press | date = 1996 | location = Hanover, New Hampshire | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0819552941 ] It was popular from just before the American Civil War to the end of the 19th Century. Today minstrelsy and its attendant blackface is viewed as racist and anachronistic, however it was the preeminent entertainment in the United States during the life of George H. Coes, and he was one of the most well-known and successful performers. cite news| last = McCormack| first = Mike| coauthors = | title = Luke Schoolcraft's life touches on minstrel shows, composing| work = Terre Haute Tribune-Star| pages = | language = English| publisher = | date = February 2, 2003| url = http://specials.tribstar.com/columns/Historical/2003/February2.html| accessdate = August 30, 2008]

Early career

Coes went to California in 1852 and was associated with a number of minstrel acts principally in San Francisco before returning East and opening with Woods and Christy's Minstrels in New York City in 1857. In 1858, Coes returned to California and joined with Sam Wells to form Coes and Wells' Minstrels. [ cite book| last = Rice| first = Edward Leroy | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Monarchs of Minstrelsy from "Daddy" Rice to Date| publisher = Kenney Publishing Company | date = 1911 | location = New York, New York | pages = 366| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=nvY5AAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage&dq=%22George+H.+Coes%22&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPP8,M1 | doi = | id = | isbn = ] That partnership didn't last and Coes returned to performing in other companies. In 1867, after years of performing in the minstrel companies of others, Coes joined with S.S. Purdy and Frank Converse to form Coes, Purdy and Converse's Party which opened in Harlem on March 19, 1867.

Partnership with Schoolcraft

Coes joined with his old friend Luke Schoolcraft in 1874 and they formed "one of the most famous minstrel tandems in history." Schoolcraft & Coes appeared with a number of leading companies including Emerson's Megatherian Minstrels and Barlow, Wilson, Primrose & West. By 1880, the two settled with their families in Cambridge, Massachusetts and continued to tour throughout the country performing their minstrel act in a variety of shows and venues.

When Coes was unable to continue his career due to poor health in 1889, the partnership dissolved. Coes was stricken with paralysis in 1891 and died at his home at 205 Hampshire Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 16, 1897.

Compositions

George H. Coes produced a book of music in 1877, entitled George Coes' Album of Music which included a number of hits, including:

*Clouds and sunshine; or, I've just arrived from Dixie (1877)

References

ee also

*Minstrel show


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