Kemp, “Father” (Robert J.)

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Kemp, “Father” (Robert J.)

Kemp, “Father” (Robert J.), American showman; b. Wellfleet, Mass., June 6, 1820; d. Boston, May 14, 1897. He was a shoe merchant but loved music. As a leading proponent of the old-folks concerts revival (an attempt to restore the music and performance practices of the 18th- century New England singing schools), he organized the Old Folks Concert Troupe in Boston (1855), which gave regular concerts in N.Y., Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as in Boston (until 1866); also took it on a tour of the West (1858–59) and of England (1861). He publ. a collection of New England psalmody, with some popular songs and patriotic numbers, as Father Kemp’s Old Folks’ Concert Tunes (Boston, 1860). He also wrote Father Kemp and His Old Folks (1868).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire