World Tribute to Titanic's 8 Musicians
Their Lives, Loves and Legacy – An Epic Ballad of the Sea
Written in the Stars
The Theodore “Theo” Brailey Story
Spiritualism was all the rage in 1887 when William Theodore “Theo” Brailey was born to William and Amy Brailey in Essex, England. His father was a self-proclaimed clairvoyant with a large following. He felt he had the power to connect with the past and see into the future. Twenty-four years after his son was born he would envision a horrible disaster at sea that could threatened Theo’s life.
There was a piano in Theo’s home and he and his sisters, Mable and Lily were encouraged to play. It soon became clear that Theo had a genuine talent for music. At the young age of 15, he became part of the orchestra at the Kensington Palace Hotel in West London. Within a year, he changed direction, signing up as a boy soldier with the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, playing in the regimental band. His stint with the army lasted 5 years. Now 20-years-old, he joined the Southport Pier Pavilion orchestra in a posh Lancashire seaside resort that was the Disneyland of its day.
It is here Theo met young Teresa Steinhilber. By 1910 there was talk of marriage until the chance to be a musician on luxury liners presented itself. After a finding his musical footing on several ships, his chance at “the big time” came with an offer to join the RMS Titanic band. But, there were concerns. He had just become engaged to Teresa and had promised to end his seagoing days. And there was this…his clairvoyant father told him that the Titanic would come to no good.
Throwing caution to the wind, Theo boarded Titanic on April 10, 1912, not knowing that he had just five days to live. Those days were filled making music with a trio of musicians in Titanic’s elegant A la Carte and Parisian restaurants. Theo was a wiz on the Steinway piano but on the night of the sinking, it was a cello he played as the ship went down.
It took Titanic 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink, all that time the band played on, hoping their music would ease the pain of truth so many were facing. One survivor said: “Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing, minute after minute, as the ship settled lower and lower in the sea.
Theo Brailey was 24-years-old when he died. His body was never recovered.
The new Titanic Musician’s Tribute Gallery is now open in Branson, Missouri. Come, take another look at a story you thought you knew.