Seth Weeks (1868-1953)
[from The Banjo World, Vol.VIII, No. 73, 12/1900, p. 20]

`Mr. S.S. Weeks, who will represent America at the forthcoming Festival, is reputed the greatest mandoline virtuoso the United States has produced.  Commencing his musical studies at the age of seven, he started with the violin, but soon abandoned that instrument in favour of the guitar; the fact being that his sensitive ear waxed impatient with his hands, and would no longer endure the harsh sounds produced by a novice's application of a horse's tail to what has been euphemistically described  as a pussy's bowels.

His early efforts on the guitar meeting with more toleration from his aural appendage, stimulated him to heroic efforts to hasten the time when he should be able to afford some pleasure to that organ.  Between school hours he would become so engrossed by his practice that his parents would often have to insist on his coming to a meal before he could tear himself away from his guitar.

For fifteen years he cultivated his musical talent in this direction, attaining such proficiency that he rendered the finest compositions of the old masters, and wrote extensively for the guitar himself; one of his solos consisting of twelve pages bristling with difficulties.

In the mandolin, however, Mr. Weeks has found his best loved instrument, and to him is largely due its pre-eminence in the United States to-day.

Mr. Weeks observes that banjo playing has reached a higher artistic standard in this country than in America, and in consequence has been heard at a class of concerts here such as it has not attained in the land of his birth.  The mandoline, on the contrary, has received recognition from the most cultured musical circles in the United States, and of the performances of Sam. Siegel, Eugene Page, J.W. Marler, W.L. Barney, Valentine Abt and Fred. Lewis Mr. Weeks speaks with admiration.

To make the mandoline, when so desired, independent of any accompanying instrument, has been Mr. Weeks' great object, and many of his solo compositions and arrangements are written in duo form; melodies, counter melodies and full harmonies being produced the one instrument.  A review of those of his compositions published by Messrs. Lyon and Healy, of Chicago states: `The work of this composer reaches far beyond the average style of concerted mandoline music, and shows not only great talent, but also vast marvels of beauty and sweetness.  Full harmony is introduced in most arrangements, thus making the mandolin complete as a solo instrument'.

Mr. Weeks' marvelous execution in the mandoline is the outcome of fourteen years' of incessant practice, at first of six or seven hours a day, and latterly of two or three.  At Tacoma, Washington, he conducted a Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, several former members of which are now prominent players and teachers.  Pupils in many other towns, including Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Salt Lake City have had the benefit of his tuition, and he has made concert tours throughout the United States.

These tours are called `circuits' in America, the last one Mr. Weeks was one being `Keith's circuit', when he played for a week at a time in New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island and Boston at the theatre in each town owned by Mr. B.F. Keith, the proprietor, who has lately added the Princess Theatre, London, to his list.  Mr. Weeks proved such a draw on this circuit that he has a standing offer for a return visit, but thinks of making a prolonged or permanent stay in this country.  During a week in October, 1899, Mr. Weeks was the star artiste at the Theatre Francais, Montreal.

The Atlantic Ocean afforded Mr. Weeks a connecting link between his long list of triumphs in America, and the series of successes we are assured he will gain here: the passengers of the Dominion Line `New England' on the trip which brought Mr. Weeks to our side of the `herring pond', having deputed a committee to get a medal struck and presented to him in recognition of the intense pleasure afforded them by the fine music with which he kindly entertained them during the voyage.

Mr. John Brandt, of Chicago, is considered by Mr. Weeks to be the best maker od mandolins in America, his instruments excelling both in quality of tone and fine finish.  He has one instrument which shows this maker's fine workmanship in particular, the fluted ebony ribs being alternated with strips of mother-of-pearl, the other parts being elaborately carved and inlaid, and the neck being finished with a lion's head scroll.  Mr. Weeks proposes leaving this instrument on exhibition at Cammeyer's studio.  For the special benefit of those unable to be at the Festival I would mention the records played by America's greatest mandoline virtuoso, can now be obtained for Edison's Phonograph.

Mr. Weeks' last appearance in the United States was at Keith's Theatre, Boston, a theatre at which the most celebrated performers have played, and I finish this pen portrait by quoting a single line from the press criticism of his performance there: `His equal has not been heard at Keith's'.'

    compiled by Neil Gladd
After the Opera, Waltz [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno]               
Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Bolero [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Broken links, serenade [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Congratulation, waltz [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno]
Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Congratulation, waltz [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Cotton Pickers patrol [Mn] Dallas (Pazdirek)
Decoration Day [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Devotion, serenade [2 Mn] Dallas (Pazdirek)
Evolution, schottishe [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Fantastic Dance [Mn]
Shaeffer, 1899
Graduation, waltz [Mn, Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Grand Concert Polka [Mn, Gtr/Pno]               

Shaeffer, 1900 US-Gladd (Pno scr, Mn)
US-Wc  M 279.W (Pno scr, Mn)
Grand Fantasie (Rock of Ages) [Mn]
Shaeffer, 1899 US-Gladd
Invitation, lancers [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Laburnum Gavotte [Mn, Mla] Dallas (Pazdirek)
Little Cupid, polka [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Living Picture, gavotte [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Mandolin Concerto [Mn, Pno]
Shaeffer, 1900 US-Wc  M 279.W (pts)
Mazurka de Concert [Mn, Pno]               
(listed in Pazdirek for solo mandolin, only)
Shaeffer, 1899 US-Wc  M 279.W (Pno scr, Mn)
Navel Cadets, march [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
On Deck, cakewalk [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Only a Smile, song and dance [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Passing Guard March [1-2 Mn, (Mla), Gtr/Pno]
Shaeffer, 1898
US-Gladd (all parts but Gtr)
Le Petite Overture [1-2 Mn, (Mla), Gtr/Pno]
Shaeffer, 1899 (catalog)
Polka Caprice [Mn, Mla] Dallas
Progressive March [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Rang Tang Dance. [1-2 Mn, Mla, Bnj, Gtr, Pno]           
Dallas, 1904 GB-Lbm  h. 188.j. (31.)
(Pts, Mla missing)
Shady Lane, march [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Sometime, polka [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Song Without Words [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)
Star Mandolin Collection [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno]           
Shaeffer, 1901 GB-Lbm  g.1102.(6.)
La Troubadour Waltz [1-2 Mn, (Mla), Gtr/Pno]       
Shaeffer, 1899 (catalog)
Valse Brilliant [Mn] Dallas (Pazdirek)
Wishing for Thee, waltz [1-2 Mn, Gtr/Pno] Shaeffer (Pazdirek)