The Singing Class (1873-1943)

The Singing Class tours of North Carolina were some of the earliest fundraising activities for Oxford. The children’s most popular songs from those tours were recorded on homemade 45s and 78s, which we hold in the physical archives of the museum in Oxford. To hear three examples we have transferred to digital media, visit our Recordings section in the online archives.

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1926 Oxford Orphanage Singing Class

Perhaps no story about the Home is more well known than that of John Mills putting children into the back of a wagon to ‘sing for their supper’.

The Singing Class represented the face of the Oxford orphans to the state of North Carolina for seventy years, traveling by wagon, train, and bus. The children saw every part of the state in their journeys.

The Masons and other citizens of North Carolina showed their support for the children through ticket purchases to the Singing Class concerts. These revenues remained an important part of fundraising efforts of the Home for the duration of the concert tours, which ended in 1943, shut down when tire and gas rationing was necessitated by World War II conservation restrictions.