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What was the earliest commercial recording made in the U.S. using a pit
orchestra?
 
I'm looking at Victor 18285, recorded 1917.  It's two excertps from Victor
Herbert's "Eileen."  The vocalists are Greek Evans on one side and Scott
Welsh on the other.  Both labels state, "and Chorus from the Eileen Company
(conducted by the Composer).  The description at the 3 o'clock position
reads, "Tenor (from the Welsh side) with Chorus and Orchestra"
 
At tthe time, Herbert was recording for Victor using his own orchestra,
always credited.  Why not here?   One alternative is that a studio group was
used.  Another is that it was the pit orchestra as well as chorus.
Uncredited on the label but included in John Bolig's listing in the 18000
series volume of his Black Label Discography is the name of the harpist,
"Domenic Melilllo."  It's the only time I've seen the name and is the only
entry for him that Bolig indexes in this volume. Did he play in the pit
orchestra for Eileen?  
 
Opera aside, is there an earlier U.S. recording using the pit orchestra?  
 
Steve Smolian