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. Children’s Psalm, The
  9. Dark Is the Night
  10. Father, When Shall All the Wea­ry Earth
  11. Foggia
  12. Keep Thou My Way
  13. Las Pal­mas
  14. Lundie
  15. Magill
  16. Mosul
  17. Nagpur
  18. Nazareth
  19. Odenwald
  20. Pilgrim, Watch and Pray
  21. Polar Star, The
  22. Praise Ye Je­ho­vah
  23. Red Hook
  24. Repentance
  25. Ringing, Sweet­ly Ring­ing
  26. Skopje
  27. There Is No Love Like the Love of Je­sus
  28. Thine Eye Can See
  29. Thornton
  30. Underwood
  31. Wyoming