1831–1912
portrait

July 21, 1831, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Son of a Bap­tist preacher, Perkins came from a family of 10 children who sang and played various instruments. His music lessons began at age three. During his father’s pastorate at Ham­il­ton, New York, choir rehearsals were often held at the parsonage; the leader would put the three year old on a small stool, on the table around which the choir was assembled, giving him a chance to both see and hear. Later, Perkins would play the vi­o­lin­cel­lo in church, standing on a stool to finger the in­stru­ment.

In 1839, the family moved to New York City, where Theodore studied the pi­a­no­for­te. By age 19, while working as a clerk, he used all his spare time to study voice and piano. In 1851, he went to Ham­i­lton, New York, to teach music at Ma­di­son University (later Col­gate University) and the Female Seminary.

In 1854, Perkins went to Port Jer­vis, New York, where he taught singing school. In 1855, he married Ma­ry Cas­key, who for years was his soprano soloist in many events. Soon after the marriage, they moved to Sa­lem, New Je­rsey. In the summer of 1856, he and his wife studied at the Normal Academy of Music at North Read­ing, Mas­sa­chu­setts, under Lo­well Ma­son and George Root.

In 1859, Per­kins became co-principal, with Will­iam Brad­bu­ry, of the Normal Academy of Music at Ge­ne­seo, New York. He also worked in schools in North Pel­ham, On­tar­io, Ca­na­da, and in Tunk­han­nock and Mead­ville, Penn­syl­van­ia, and served as musical director in numerous churches in Brook­lyn, New York, and Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­vania. He also taught voice culture at Prince­ton and La­fay­ette Universities, the Un­ion Theological Seminary, and Cro­zer Seminary, Up­land, Penn­syl­van­ia. His works include:

  1. Anatolia
  2. Angel’s Proclamation, The
  3. Babler
  4. Be Strong (Hudnut)
  5. Bellefontaine Neighbors
  6. Chiesa
  7. Chihuahua
  8. Dark Is the Night
  9. Father, When Shall All the Weary Earth
  10. Keep Thou My Way
  11. Las Palmas
  12. Lundie
  13. Magill
  14. Mosul
  15. Nagpur
  16. Nazareth
  17. Odenwald
  18. Pilgrim, Watch and Pray
  19. Polar Star, The
  20. Praise Ye Jehovah
  21. Red Hook
  22. Repentance
  23. Ringing, Sweetly Ringing
  24. Skopje
  25. There Is No Love Like the Love of Jesus
  26. Thine Eye Can See
  27. Thornton
  28. Underwood
  29. Wyoming