BHS Choir Sings for Hospital Benefit  
Thursday, October 31, 2002

So I've Heard Column

Jacqueline Puliafico, director of the Bartlett High School Alumni Choir, can be counted on to support a good cause, even if the particulars aren't in sharp focus.
Plans to expand the emergency department at Hubbard Regional Hospital were still in the formulative stage when Mrs. Puliafico, retired supervisor of music for the Webster public schools, said "yes" to a benefit concert. The idea is to give the project a leg up, she said.
"Actually, Ben Craver suggested the choir do something for the hospital," Mrs. Puliafico continued. "He's one of our members and is one of the hospital officers."
The concert will be Saturday < Nov. 2> at 8 p.m. in the Webster Town Hall auditorium. It will be a partial repeat of the BHS Alumni's May 26 event, held to buy stage curtains for the town venue, but with new wrinkles. The Puliafico singers, with alumni and friends, resumed rehearsals several weeks ago, and have honed their voices for another gala presentation.
Mrs. P, as she is known to hundreds in this area, promises a fine program and all that, but she's concerned about the venture. "Not enough people know what the hospital plans to do," she said softly, as though to down peddle her observation.
This prompted a call to HRH administrator Gerald Barbini. "We want to rehabilitate the emergency department, using all of the existing space and adding about 2,000 square feet behind the hospital," he declared. Particulars still have to be developed but they should be ready for the hospital's annual meeting in January.
A fund campaign will probably follow. Mr. Barbini took care to promote the benefit. Tickets are still available at the hospital, Dugan Drug store on Main Street, the Sam Pappas accounting office on Thompson Road, and at Christopher Heights, he said.
I'm beginning to believe the line about minding your p's and q's because people have long memories. Anita Socha, Connie Chenard and Lucille Pikora were in a fast food place when I happened along last Thursday .
Greetings followed and Ms. Socha remembered that we met once at a wedding. She was the bridesmaid and I was a guest. This was years ago. She mentioned the couple, the month, year, church, and reception and she was right on all counts.
An old campaign story came to mind Friday as I read a debate story. It centers on the politics of one Asher Joslin, who was active in town affairs from the 1840s to around 1880. He worked as a wool sorter in Slater's South Village Mill and ultimately became head of the department.
Mr. Joslin was the first Webster resident to join the Republican party after it was organized in 1854. Elected to the state senate that same year, he became one of the first Republicans in the Great and General Court. He also served as a Webster assessor and school committee member. I found his story in a 1912 family volume by Helen M. Joslin, a daughter.
John C. Fremont and William L. Dayton were the Republican standard bearers in 1856 and enthusiasm ran high for Webster's first GOP presidential campaign. The national party was less than two years old.
"Paraders with torch lights and bands of music marched through the streets," Miss Joslin wrote. "Our own house (on South Main Street, now with storefronts occupied by Closet Classics and Essentials Hair Design) made a brave showing, with rows of candles in wooden sockets in all the front windows. Speakers addressed crowded evening rallies, at which campaign songs furnished part of the program."
Asher Joslin composed some of the songs to the "popular airs" of the day, according to the family manuscript. He had his own choir: The men in Slater's wool room. Slavery was the question of the time, and especially whether Kansas should be admitted into the union as a free state or as a slave state.
Mr. Joslin rewrote the lyrics to "Wait for the Wagon," and his versio
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