On April 26 & 27, 1910, Jessie was involved with the Memphis Music Festival at the Auditorium. On Tuesday the 26th she went with a friend and heard the Mendelssohn oratorio Elijah. In the next day’s performance, Jessie got to sing in the chorus. The soloists were world class, or at least well known in the U.S. — Corinne Kelsey, soprano; Janet Spencer, contralto; Daniel Beddoe, tenor; and Marion Green, baritone. The visiting orchestra was the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, now known as the Chicago Symphony.
Theodore Thomas, founder of the Chicago Symphony, was the first important American conductor. In 1890 he founded the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, which then became the Chicago Orchestra. Concert subscriptions increased yearly and were enough to fund the building of a permanent home, Orchestra Hall, on 220 S. Michigan Ave. The first concert in their new home was December 14, 1904. Thomas died on January 4, 1905, and the orchestra was renamed the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. In 1913 the title was changed to the Chicago Symphony.
Below is a modern photograph of Orchestra Hall at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Notice the two plaques above the lower windows on either side, and beneath the engravings of the composers’ names. They read “Theodore Thomas Orchestra Hall.”