Music & Community

In the years after completing her studies at Albany’s Free Academy, Arabella began her own career as a music teacher. It seems likely that she held private lessons while still living in her parents’ Albany home. After her marriage, Arabella continued to build upon her reputation as a fine musician. This talent gave her a route into the public culture of her city. When we follow reports of her performances, we learn how Arabella matured into a recognized member of black Albany’s social, fraternal, and religions communities.

“The Rev. F.F. Giles occupied the pulpit at the A.M.E. Church Sunday all day. The Y.P.U.A. Society gave a very creditable entertainment at this church Thursday evening. The following participated: Mme. C.B. Miller….” (“Albany Annals,” New York Age, February 15, 1890.)

2.08. Arabella Chapman. Tintype.

2.08. Arabella Chapman. Tintype.

“A large audience as at Bleecker Hall on Thursday evening , upon the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Charles Sumner Benevolent Association…. The program was as follows: Selections by the band; prayer by the chaplain; piano solo, “Reveil du Lion,” Mme. C.B. Miller.” (“Celebration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Charles Sumner Benevolent Association,” New York Age, February 22, 1890.)

Philomathean Lodge No. 712, G.U.O. of O.F, commemorated the close of the old year by giving a family reunion at their rooms … Mrs. C.B. Miller and Miss N. Fletcher presided at the organ. (“Albany Annals,” New York Age, January 17, 1891.)

“The united societies of the Israel A.M.E. Church held a bazar and sale of fancy goods in the lecture room of the church…. On Tuesday evening they consisted of a recitation, “Spartacus” Address to the Gladiators,” by D.B. Scott; piano solo, Mrs. C.B. Miller….” (“From the State Capital, Albany League in a Healthy Condition,” New York Age, March 14, 1891.)

“The wedding bells have again rung but their merry peals in this city, summoning five hundred persons to Israel A.M.E. Church last Wednesday evening…. Promptly at 9 p.m., the great organ, with Madame C.B. Miller, accompanist, pealed forth Mendelssohn’s wedding march as the bridal party entered.” (“Wedding Bells in Albany,” New York Age, March 21, 1891.”)





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