On any given day, stepping through the door of is akin to stepping through a time warp. The antique furnishings and 19th century architectural details remind visitors of what one might have seen in an elegant Morristown home 200 years ago.
On Sunday, they got an idea of what one might have heard, as well.
Crowds gathered well before the 4 p.m. start time for , which featured violinist Adriane Post, a descendant of the family that once called Macculloch Hall home.
Post's violin had been originally owned by Macculloch Hall’s last resident, Dorothea Miller Post, called "Dolly," who lived at the home from 1878 to 1947.
The instrument was passed down to Dolly Post’s great-grandaughter, Adriane Post, who is well-versed in its long history.
“Dolly was a good amateur violinist, and had a piano trio with her mother and sister,” Post said. “She received the violin as a gift from her brother, and the story goes that he gave her the best violin he could find at the time in New York.”
“Music was a big part of the Maccullochs’ lives,” said Museum Curator Ryan Hyman. “They used to roll the piano out into the center hall for parties.”
These gatherings are often described to guests during tours of the historic home, and there are photographs in the home that feature Dolly Post and the violin she would play during parties; but Adriane Post, who recently completed a master’s degree in Julliard’s Historic Performance program, provided further insight into the family's social events.
“I remember my grandfather [Dolly’s son Edward Everett Post] reminiscing about sneaking out of bed and lying on the floor in the upstairs hallway with his brothers, peering down into the center hall, where the music and party were taking place,” she said.
On this Sunday, however, the center hall would have been too small to accommodate the large audience that packed the museum’s schoolroom gallery, where Post performed a concert with Arceci-McKean & Friends, a baroque ensemble comprised of viola da gambist Andrew Arceci, harpsichordist John McKean, soprano Elizabeth Hungerford, baroque violinists Johanna Novom and Post and theorboist John Armoto.
“John McKean and I have performed together throughout the United States for nearly three years,” Arceci said. “Depending on the repertoire, the ensemble changes personnel.”
Originally a double-bassist, it wasn’t until entering college that Arceci discovered the viola da gamba.
“It was at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University where I was first exposed to the idea of historical performance, earlier repertoires, looking at manuscripts, art, and fusing that knowledge into performance,” Arceci said.
The group performed a two-hour program featuring both French and Italian works. A highlight of the program was Allemande La La Bourde by Antoine Forqueray, who, Arceci said, reputedly played like the devil.
“He was one of the great French virtuosi,” Arceci said. “His music is quite demanding, but astounding.”
The program also featured works by Claudio Monteverdi and Antonio Vivaldi, as well as “Airs de Cour” by Michel Lambert.
“They truly transport the listener to an earlier time,” Arceci said of Lambert’s “Airs de Cour.” “That 'escape' to an earlier time is delightful, and worth sharing with audiences.”
The audience at Macculloch Hall was certainly appreciative; after the members of the ensemble took their bows, they walked out amidst thunderous applause echoing throughout the gallery.
“This makes me want to go out and get a baroque violin,” said Jaki Huwyler of Randolph, who currently plays a modern violin.
Those familiar with the museum and its history were especially pleased to see the family heirloom back in its original home.
“It makes for a very interesting and different afternoon,” said museum trustee Ann Verdesca. “It’s thrilling to see the violin that we see in the pictures back in the house.”