MUSICIANS’ PLAQUE DISCOVERY
From first-class notables to members of the crew, many have honored those whose lives were lost as Titanicsank over 101 years ago by sharing their stories. A story that resonates is that of the eight brave musicians who played until the Ship sank, calming those on board with the sounds of popular and classical songs as well as hymns like ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’
To honor Titanic’s musicians, the Musical Mutual Protective Union (MMPU) in New York City appointed a committee to organize a concert aiding the families of the bandsmen on Titanic. As funds were raised, a plan was originated to create a more permanent tribute to the orchestra’s heroism - a bronze tablet designed by German sculptor, Albert Weinert. The plaque was completed in October 1912, and later unveiled in a ceremony at MMPU’s headquarters on November 3, 1912.
Over time, the plaque was moved from its original location to a ball room in New York City, and eventually removed during renovations of that space. As the MMPU had disbanded years ago there was only one known photograph and no owner to contact, the plaque was thought to be lost. It wasn’t until Doug Turner, a resident of Naples, FL, discovered it in a scrap yard. Turner bought the plaque for $2 per pound, saving it from being melted down. It was in his research that he connected with Charles A. Haas and John P. Eaton, of theTitanic International Society, and discovered the plaque had a historical background directly associated withTitanic.
Turner, with the support of Haas and Eaton, partnered with Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Titanic The Experience in Orlando, FL to hold a special rededication ceremony unveiling the plaque just as it was done nearly 101 years ago – including the use of the British and American flags and the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ This newly discovered historical plaque will be on display at Titanic The Experience in Orlando, FL for at least six months, once again providing a tangible tribute to honor and remember the brave men of Titanic’s orchestra.