When the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, passengers were not thinking about listening to classical music. Some of them already knew that they were destined to die. Others fought to save their own lives. While the passengers got on the lifeboats, they heard the music of Wallace Hartley and his band. They could have stopped playing, but they wanted to make the passengers feel relaxed at one of the most terrifying moments of their lives. Can you imagine how much composure the band had when they were able to still play beautiful music?
Even before working for the Titanic, Hartley already had an impressive resume. In 1909, Hartley began his career as a musician on ocean liners. He was an instrumentalist on the Lucania, Lusitania and Mauretania. On April 1912, he got a job as a musician for the Titanic. With his band, he would play music for the first class. Since he was worried about leaving his finance, Maria Robinson, he was a little reluctant to go. He decided to work on the Titanic knowing that it would lead to more opportunities.
Hartley dreamed of becoming a renowned musician. In fact, it was in his genes. Albion Hartley, Wallace’s father, was a choirmaster and Sunday school superintendent at Bethel Independent Methodist Chapel on Burnly Road. His devoutly religious family attended services at Bethel Independent Methodist Chapel. Hartley learned to play the violin from a parishioner in his church. Hartley became a professional violinist who enchanted audiences with his music.
Since he was a virtuoso of high caliber, he was on the path to having a flourishing musical career. He could have even become a famous name in the music industry. As the Titanic sank, he was destined to become a heroic man rather than a well-known musician.
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