STEVENS, Vernon T. (words & music); GORMAN, Frank W., Rev. (performer)
[SHEET MUSIC] Back to home sweet home
/ Words & music by Vernon T. Stevens. Cover: Sung by Rev. Frank W. Gorman (The Singing Parson) at Fuller’s Vaudeville Theatres. Melbourne : L.F. Collin Pty. Ltd., [c.1920]. Series: Collin’s popular sixpenny edition. Folio, front cover with photographic portrait of Frank Gorman and original owner’s name ‘Vera Bangs’ (light foxing and edge tears), 3 pp, music notation (arrangement for voice and piano).
Rev. Frank W. Gorman was an American religious minister from Oregon who toured Australia in 1920. The following article was published in The Advertiser (Adelaide), 16 February 1920:
‘REV. FRANK W. GORMAN. THE SINGING PARSON. The first thing that strikes one about the Singing Parson (the Rev. Frank Walter Gorman), who opened for a season at the Majestic Theatre on Saturday, is the intensely practical nature of his religion. His ideal is the personality of Jesus Christ for the people as opposed to the Church’s view. In an interview on Saturday morning Mr. Gorman said, ‘My sermons are likely to scare people, as also is my theology, but there is nothing rude, nothing coarse, no thing gross in it. It is a plain heartspoken message to the soul of the listener with a punch in it to send it home. If people come to listen to me who are afraid of home truths they had better stay away. I don’t want to frighten people, but I do want to straighten out the Church, and you know it does sorely need straightening out in every direction. In far too many churches the man of means has pitched his tent, and by his donation to the pastor’s salary, his contributions in costly carpets, pipe organs and brilliant chandeliers, has silenced the voice of the man who should stand in the pulpit as the Oracle of God. I went into vaudeville work because I am naturally an artist and because the Church didn’t pay a living wage. Now that I am being paid a salary by the large theatrical combine which enables me to live comfortably I can preach and make no charge for doing so, and at the same time I am independent of everybody in the giving out of the Master’s great message to them. I believe, and believe intensely, in a religion of the streets, for a heaven beyond the stars is too far away for the majority of people to enjoy. Heaven and hell are states here and now. I am English born, my native place being Plymouth, and yet from infancy I have always been American.’ Mr. Gorman began to preach at the age of 14 years at Botus Fleming, in Cornwall. Some ‘time afterwards he read Paine’s ‘Age of Reason’ and a book on the ‘Immaculate Conception of Christ,’ and he was driven to agnosticism and lost faith. For six years he criticised sermons and looked for discrepancies in the Bible, until September 13, 1906, when light came to him and the following Saturday night he was preaching on the streets.’
Scarce. The National Library of Australia holds the only copy of this sheet music recorded in Australian collections.