Overholt's Orchestra
Newspaper Item from Michael Overholt
Written by K. R. Overholt Critchfield, August 8, 2001
~~ Renovated 10-22-08 ~~

My brother, Michael, is a man of few words, so I wasn't surprised when he sent me a scan of the following old newspaper item, accompanied by only one word, "Here!" At this point, I do not know which newspaper to credit, nor do I know what date this item appeared. If anyone can supply more details, please let me know!

This picture is a reduced version of the one Michael sent me. The text reads as follows.

An active and popular musical group in Mount Pleasant more than half a century ago was Overholt's Orchestra, the members of which are shown above in a photograph taken in 1908. Seated left to right are John Glovatsky, clarinet; Joseph Rocheck, flute; Russell J. Myers, violin; George F. Overholt, piano; Orray D. Zuck, trumpet; Joseph Lukacik, trombone, and James W. Pore, drums. Standing in the rear is John Simandl, string bass. All but three of the musicians are deceased. The three living, seated together above, are Myers, still active as owner and operator of a music store on Main Street; Overholt, also still active as a night club pianist in Pittsburgh, and Zuck, retired but still active as instructor of the local Junior Rifle Club. Overholt, the organizer and leader of the orchestra, was only 16 years of age at the time. The youngest member, however, was Myers, who was only 14.

My future grandfather is seated in the middle of this group photo, holding (perhaps) sheet music in his hand. At age sixteen, George Frederick Overholt (1892-1966) put together his orchestra in order to earn a living. His father had abruptly died, perhaps during a flu epidemic, and young George had to support his mother and sister. My grandfather was a composer, as well as a pianist. My Aunt Joan wrote that, upon my grandfather's death, he held 20 pieces of copyrighted compositions, which my father kept, but there is no telling what became of them. Aunt Joan added, my father donated a sizable collection of sheet music to the Pittsburgh Musical Society -- a lead I have yet to track down. Also, it is possible George studied at the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Music -- another unresearched lead.

What I have located is a document accessible at the Historic Pittsburgh web site -- a 1925 edition of the Directory of the Pittsburgh Musical Society, Local No. 60 A.F. of M. On page 69, there is listed the following.

Overholt, G. F., Piano-Organ, 296 Bailey Ave., Mt. Wash., Pbgh., Pa. Laf. 2351-M.

In the future, I expect to write much more about my grandfather's life, for there must be a tremendous amount of information "out there" about this man who lived most of his life in the public eye. Right now, every tiny bit of information shines like a single pearl, and I hope to eventually string all those pearls together into a long historical "necklace," so to speak. When I first saw the photo above, I was amazed by the likeness of my then-young progenitor, for I have pictures of me as a child that look VERY much like my grandfather at age sixteen! After a short search of my (small) cache of family photos, I discovered that a picture of me that appeared on a seminary ID card matched a photo my grandfather sent me before he died.

George Frederick Overholt, c. 1964 ~ & ~ Karen Rose Overholt, c. 1984

Okay, so our ears are different! But I think these two photos show a remarkable resemblance, not to mention the big, flashing eyeglasses! By the way, if anybody should be curious enough check out my time at PTS, I was using my first married surname, at the time (i.e., Grainger).

END OF PAGE -- Go back to Karen's Branches or . . . . go on to the next page, Ridenour's Frick Checks.