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date: 20 October 2019

Fadette Ladies’ Orchestra, The [Fadettes of Boston, Fadettes Woman’s Orchestra of Boston]locked

  • Anna-Lise P. Santella


[Fadettes of Boston, Fadettes Woman’s Orchestra of Boston]

Boston-based women’s orchestra founded in 1888 and incorporated in 1895. Founded in 1888 by Caroline B. Nichols and Ethel Atwood, both violinists, and four of their friends, The Fadettes grew to become one of the most successful women’s orchestras in American history. The Fadettes employed over 600 musicians performing thousands of concerts in the United States and abroad during its more than 30-year career with a repertoire that, according to Nichols, included “many symphonies” and “all the classic overtures of seventy-five grand operas.”

The founding sextet gradually expanded to between 20 (for touring) and 50 members (for Boston-area performances). In 1897 the Fadettes were the resident orchestra for the summer season at Glen Echo, a National Chautauqua Assembly in Washington, DC. They signed with the Redpath and Southern Bureaus in 1898, and toured the Chautauqua-Lyceum circuit for the next several years. In 1902 the Fadettes contracted with vaudeville impresario B.F. Keith and spent the next decade touring the vaudeville circuit. In the mid-teens, the Fadettes spent six months working with Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel (...

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