Will Accooe

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Will Accooe
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Winchester, Virginia
DiedApril 26, 1904
CitizenshipUnited States of America

Willis J. Accooe (1874 - April 26, 1904) was a musician. He composed for musicals.[1][2] He was "an important songwriter during the birth of the black musical", was musical director for John Isham's Octoroons, a popular quasi-minstrel troupe,[2] and was musical director for productions with Bert Williams. With Bob Cole and Billy Johnson he produced A Trip to Coontown in 1898, "the first New York musical written, produced, and performed by black artists". He wrote songs for the show and was its musical director.[2]

He was born in Winchester, Virginia to preacher John Harris Accooe (1852–1920) and Anna Accooe (1852–1920).[3] He married fellow musician and performer Alice Mackey. He studied at Princess Anne Academy in Maryland.[4]

He played organ at the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. He partnered with some of the premiere African American composers and also worked on Broadway musicals for white audiences.[3]

He wrote the comic opera The Volunteers in 1903. , but fell ill and production was halted. He wrote his own funeral oration.[3]


  • "Chicken" (1899), co-wrote[5]
  • "Lulu: I loves yer, Lulu"[2] co-wrote (1901)[6]
  • Love Has Claimed Its Own (1901), co-wrote[7]
  • "Black Patti Waltzes"
  • Ma dandy soldier coon (1900)[8]
  • "On the Road to Cairo Town (1903) co-wrote with James O'Dea[9]


  1. Peterson, Bernard L. (August 11, 2001). Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313295348 – via Google Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Will Accooe (d. 1904)". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "AfriClassical: Will Accooe (1874-1904) Composed 'Black Patti Waltzes' (6:16) on New World Records CD 'Black Manhattan, Vol. 2' by Paragon Ragtime Orchestra". December 27, 2012.
  4. "ccm :: Accooe, Will Accooe, Willis Accooe - Accoe, Will Accoe". composers-classical-music.com.
  5. Chicken. August 14, 1899. OCLC 51717040 – via Open WorldCat.
  6. Lulu: I loves yer, Lulu. August 14, 1901. OCLC 60404619 – via Open WorldCat.
  7. Love has claimed its own. August 14, 1901. OCLC 497033668 – via Open WorldCat.
  8. Ma dandy soldier coon
  9. On the road to Cairo town. August 14, 1903. OCLC 1117311435 – via Open WorldCat.

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