A Brief History of Potsdam
The town of Potsdam was settled in 1803 and in 1816 formed the St. Lawrence Academy (pg. 2). The Academy was renamed the Potsdam Normal School in 1869.
Music was always an important and essential facet of Potsdam culture. Town musical traditions developed very early on, which grew and influenced the academic curriculum of the St. Lawrence Academy and later the Normal School.
Due to being separated from any metropolitan area, Potsdam became a cultural center of its own which led to the development of the Northern New York Music Association in 1861. "This organization held 26 conventions, the first of which was held in Potsdam. It was typical for 250 to 300 participants to attend these four day conventions, which included rehearsals and concerts, with guests musicians coming from Boston, New York, and Chicago" (pg. 3). These conventions helped to lay the groundwork for musical edification at the Normal School.