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Jean Murray: Music

On the Banks of the Yukon

(Vocal: Brian Bennett; pianist, Jean A. Murray)
Words by Eugene Schmitz; music from "On the Banks of the Wabash" , by Paul Dresser
Eugene Schmitz wrote the words to this parody set to the 1896 Paul Dresser tune, "On the Banks of the Wabash," while Schmitz was aboard the Yukoner, a shallow draft sternwheeler headed toward Dawson in June of 1899. He and a fellow Dawson symphony member, Alfred Roncovieri, had just chased a cheating partner down river from Dawson to Ft. Yukon. With a reluctant illegal prisoner, a mutinous crew, and a leaky boiler, author Walter Curtin described the trip upriver as ten days of fun and music. Both Schmitz and Roncovieri had been members of the San Francisco symphony before their adventure in the north. Schmitz was mayor of San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake.