WHILE JOHN ORDWAY made his name and reputation in large part upon the foundation of Ordway Hall, the early performances of the Aeolians occurred not in Ordway's namesake, but in Harmony Hall, located on the "Corner of Washington and Sumner Sts.
The first commonality among Aeolian performances was a three-act structure: Typically, Aeolians performed the first act "As Citizens," that is, without blackface, while the second and third acts were performed as "Darkies," usually qualified by "Northern" and "Southern," although Ordway would add "Plantation Darkies" as a fourth act on rare occasions.
In addition to individual performances at Harmony Hall, the Aeolians occasionally appeared at other venues.
As a young man, Henry Clay Barnabee knew Ordway and eventually performed with the Aeolians.
While the Aeolians continued to perform at Harmony Hall throughout 1851, there is little evidence regarding audience response to the Aeolians or any financial success for Ordway during the first year of his venture.
By the early months of 1852, Ordway's Aeolians had moved out of Harmony Hall and found permanent housing in the abandoned Province House, which Ordway soon renamed after himself.
Out of Harmony Hall and now working in a venue carrying his name, by February 1852, he and his Aeolians were ready to debut in their new home.
Throughout the first several months at Ordway Hall, the performances consisted of a variety of acts, including one which featured the Aeolians performing as "Black Shakers," while new songs such as "The Darkies Sigh," and "Commence Ye Darkies All" were introduced; circulating advertisements for the new theater reiterated the message of the Evening Transcript's listing, and as summer approached the manager began asking "Gentlemen .
From the perspective of a twenty-first century audience, it seems rather absurd that the performances of the Aeolians would be met with such flippancy and even adoration.
We will bring not just sandwiches, but a caponatina with Aeolian capers and a bottle of the best malvasia.
Websites with information about the Aeolian Islands include www.
Hydrofoil service and ferries to the Aeolian Islands are available from Naples and Messina in Sicily during the peak summer season: www.