Blind Boone in Warrensburg
Blind Boone Performs at the Magnolia Opera House
The Magnolia Opera house, an 800 seat theater, was located at 145 West Pine at the corner of Washington and West Pine. Construction started on the theater in 1889, but the first performances did not occur until 1890.
The Magnolia Opera house was owned by a Mr. Markward, who also owned the Magnolia Mills, which was located adjacent to the theater. In January of 1893 Mr. Markward invited Blind Boone to the theater on a Saturday night after the Payton Comedy Company had finished their show. The Semi-Weekly Standard Herald noted: "His music was heartly appreciated and it was not until nearly midnight that they would let him go."
Boone returned to the opera house in May for a two-day engagement on the 2nd and 3rd. The Johnson County Star noted:
"Blind Boone and his playing are so well known to the people of Warrensburg that it is scarcely necessary for us to more than barely menetion his performance at the Magnolia last night. The fact that he is always greeted by large audiences, notwithstanding the frequency of his visits, speaks eloquently of the appreciation of our citizens."
"He gives another performance tonight. It will be different from the one last night and those who heard the first one will be well paid to go again."
"Blind Boone gave his second performance at the Magnolia last evening. The audience was almost as large as on the preceding night. The program was entirely different except about three or four numbers which are especial favorites of Boone and of the public and were repeated. At the conclusion of the performance Boone made a few remarks in which he thanked the people of Warrensburg very kindly for their appreciation of his musical talent."
The Blind Boone Concert Company returned once again to the Magnolia for a March 3, 1899, engagement and the Journal Democrat noted that the entire "gallery" of the theater was reserved for African American patrons. The Johnson County Star said that five years had passed since Boone had performed in his hometown. The journalist observed: "Although he has given several performances here, his popularity does not wane; on the contrary seems to increase with each visit. For this is the home of his boyhood; many Warrensburg people remember him as a little boy running around town and playing on any kind of musical instrument with wonderful skill...."
John Lange announced his musical selections and Miss Josie Rivers and Stella May accompained Boone in his performance. As always, he played a combination of classical pieces by Gottschalk and Liszt as well as a number of plantation songs as well as his crowd favorite, the Marshfield Tornado.