Just as with any business, there is a history. Where it all started, how it started and how it became who they are today. Long before the first "Welcome to Cooper Music" ever chimed the ears of a piano buyer, the history of the Cooper Family began. For the next few months, I will share with you, every Friday a special blog, containing the history of the Cooper family and creation of Cooper Music. We hope that you enjoy reading as Cooper Music is brought to life with memories.
A SECOND NEW DEAL CREATING WORK, MUSIC, AND ART.
An early step for the unemployed came in the form of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a program enacted by Congress to bring relief to young men between 18 and 25 years of age. They participated in a variety of conservation projects: planting trees to combat soil erosion, road work, etc. Later Coopers would play a role when a southwestern PA CCC camp, later purchased by Ken Hi Booster’s Club, was transformed into a Band and Football Training Camp. Worker relief came in the form of the Civil Works Administration. Although criticized as “make work”, the jobs funded ranged from ditch digging to highway repairs to teaching and artist projects. The growing progress made in labor unions brought working people a growing sense of shared interests. People banded together for social as well as economic reasons. Music and Art too were powerful healing forces.
In its early years, the New Deal sponsored a remarkable series of legislative initiatives and achieved significant increases in production and prices—but it did not bring an end to the Depression. And as the sense of immediate crisis eased, new demands emerged. Vocal attacks also mounted from the political left and right as dreamers, schemers and politicians alike emerged with economic panaceas that drew wide audiences of those dissatisfied with the pace of recovery.
In the face of these pressures from left and right, President Roosevelt backed a new set of economic and social measures. Prominent among these were measures to fight poverty, to counter unemployment with work and to provide a social safety net. Cooper Music saw the art and musical needs of society as a social avenue to survival. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), the principal relief agency of the so-called second New Deal, was an attempt to provide work rather than welfare.
Under the WPA, post offices, roads, and schools and social programs were started. The Coopers saw actors, painters, musicians and writers employed through the Federal Theater Project, the Federal Art Project and the Federal Writers Project. The WPA only included about three million jobless workers and artists at any one time. When it was abandoned in 1943 it had helped a total of 9 million people. The Depression era of the thirties produced a national legacy of creativity in public works and the arts, in many ways unequaled since that time.
The music store employed over 12 full time instructors in music, art, and cooking classes for over 300 weekly students. Cooper Music organized comunity music groups, a Boy Scout Band, the New Kensington Symphony, Dance and Acrobatic Schools, Choral Societies, The Allegheny Valley Community Concert Series, even a Cooper family kids orchestra, the Cooperettes. The town taking Coopers cue led the Allegheny valley in music and art participation with award winning organizations such as the New Kensington Firemen’s Band, various ethnic choral and instrumental groups, The Little Theatre, and the Musicians Union Free Park Concerts.