When an area junk hauler and regular Second Use supplier dropped off a cabinet with the Receiving Crew, he pointed out an unusual find. One of his jobs was in the home of a former Seattle Symphony Orchestra violinist. In her cabinet, he found a Seattle Symphony Orchestra program from Jan. 23, 1939. “When you stop and think about it, the likelihood of a program from another century surviving is pretty remarkable,” says Second Use co-owner and Receiving Crew member Michael Armstrong. “Especially because it was only meant to last one evening.”
The yellowing pages from the program boast ads for clothing, real estate, produce, mortgages and whisky. One ad is for the Seattle Milk Fund, a dietary aid organization for needy families. According to the ad, in 1937, the Seattle Milk Fund distributed 31,061 quarts of milk, 528 dozen eggs, and 1,775 loaves of bread to hungry families.
Though the symphony program is almost 75 years old, some things never change. In the back of the program is a note from a symphony head, saying that the Seattle Symphony Orchestra has had to shrink, as a result of tough financial times. Also, the classical music remains consistent throughout time. The evening performance on Jan. 23, 1939 included “Symphony No. 5 in E Minor” by Tchaikovsky and “Tristan and Isolde” by Wagner.
These kinds of pieces get the imagination going for Second Use staff. “You’re transported back to 1939,” Armstrong says. “I like to imagine people in fancy dresses and tuxedos, drinking martinis, standing in a beautiful building.”