After the boat was gone, two steerage passengers, Jack Thayer and his wife Lottie, were ordered to go into the very stern of the ship, where the ship's smokestack would be. When the New York Times reporter Alden Conger described the scene, Thayer apparently said to a woman standing with him, that he could not understand why women and children were relegated to the very stern. In reality, the order was given to women and children rather than to the more affluent people who occupied the uptown sections of the White Star Line's ships. Women were generally assigned to the lowest decks while women and children were usually put on the highest decks.
He further reported that, as the ship went down, the ship's band played - accompanying the schooners sent down from the north - the music of that night, which included the first movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony. The band was rehearsing as the ship was sinking. He did not witness this. The shipwright on the ship, William Murdoch - later charged with manslaughter in the disaster - dismissed the idea as a myth. He described the ship’s band that played in the lifeboats on the night of the wreck as being composed of, “the Scotch drummer and a Jew on the basses, a sheet-music publisher, his wife, a clerk and an elderly drummer who scraped the head of a bagpipe. The rest of the band were people without musical talent.” The band was a scratch or practice band, and Murdoch himself was on duty in the engine room and had not been asked to accompany the orchestra to the deck as Murdoch refused to go to the boat deck without a life jacket and his sea biscuits were in the engine room. The band had no way of knowing whether those in the jammed lifeboats had asked for music and would listen to a group of musicians rehearsing. Murdoch had no knowledge of the band at all and is a direct contradiction to Conger. d2c66b5586