Posts Tagged ‘1918’

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Jeanne Gordon Opera Singer From Wallaceburg

July 22, 2010

Name: Jeanne Gordon (Ruby Jeanne Gordon)
Genre: Opera singer
Year: 1919
Home: Wallaceburg Ontario

Ruby “Jeanne” Gordon was an Canadian opera singer active during the early 1900s

Ruby got her big break in July 1919. She was called to New York and offered a three year Metropolitan Opera contract by Giulio Gatti-Casazza. Shortly after signing her contract she changed her name to “Jeanne” Gordon. Her debut performance was as Azucena in Il trovatore. In 1919 she created the roles of the Fairy and Mme Berlingot in L’oiseau bleu by Albert Wolff in its world premiere. She made guest appearances with the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1928.

Recordings: Gordon recorded 78s for Columbia and Victor in the 1920s.

Above info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Gordon
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Her only teacher was Albert Ham, with whom she studied while attending Toronto’s Havergal College. As a girl she often sang before Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Married unhappily (1908) to Ralph K. Trix of Detroit, she nevertheless followed him to the USA, but left him in 1917 and began her career as a professional singer in New York.

In New York Gordon appeared at the Rialto Theatre, singing operatic ‘interludes’ as part of a variety program. These appearances led to a contract with the Creatore Grand Opera, and she made her debut 11 Dec 1918 in Brooklyn as Amneris in Aida. She toured with the Scotti Grand Opera the following spring and made a highly successful Metropolitan Opera debut 22 Nov 1919 as Azucena in Il Trovatore. She remained a principal contralto with that company for nine consecutive seasons, her repertoire consisting of two dozen roles (in French, Italian, German, and English), including Carmen, Dalila, Eboli in Don Carlo, Marina in Boris Godunov, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, and several novelties. She also sang in the premieres of Albert Wolff’s L’Oiseau bleu and Henry Hadley’s Cleopatra’s Night. For virtually all of her opera roles she was coached by Wilfrid Pelletier. Maintaining an active concert schedule she sang in Montreal 11 Mar 1926 on an all-Canadian program under Pelletier with Edmund Burke, Florence Easton, and Edward Johnson and in Toronto 27 Jan 1927 with the National Chorus under Albert Ham. After guest appearances with the Monte Carlo Opera in 1928 in Europe, with the TSO during its 1929-30 season under Luigi von Kunits, and with the Toronto Promenade Orchestra in 1930 under Reginald Stewart (her last appearance), she suffered a mental collapse and was admitted to a Missouri sanatorium, where she remained until her death of a heart attack.

A tall and handsome woman with a magnetic personality and a true contralto voice of extraordinary range and richness, Gordon never quite fulfilled the promise evident in such notices as that published by Musical America after her 1921 Metropolitan appearance as Brangäne: ‘The most satisfactory all-round individual contribution to the performance was made by Jeanne Gordon whose lovely contralto and fine sense of pictorial and dramatic values received thrilling expression’.

She recorded nine single-sided 78s for Columbia (1920-2) and two in 1925 for Victor. All are listed in Roll Back the Years. In 1927 she appeared in a few Warner Brothers-Vitaphone shorts, singing operatic excerpts with Martinelli, Gigli, and others. She shares with Edward Johnson and Marie Louise Edvina a Rococo recording (No. 5254) of operatic arias.

Author James B. McPherson
Info from  http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca


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Geoffrey O’Hara Writes Huge Hit Song ‘K-K-K-Katy’ (1918)

May 30, 2009

Geoffrey O’Hara, composer, singer and lecturer (1882-1967)

   ‘Geoffrey O’Hara’ was a Canadian American composer, singer and music professor.
O’Hara was born in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. He initially planned a military career. O’Hara entered the prestigious Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario at age 18 and he trained with the 1st Hussars. He had to abandon his military career upon the death of his father, Robert O’Hara.

   He moved to the USA in 1904, the same year he began performing in Vaudeville. He began recording for Edison Records in 1905. In 1913 O’Hara undertook the recording of traditional Indian songs on behalf of the American government.
  During World War I he was a singing instructor of patriotic songs for American troops. In 1919 he married Constance Dougherty from Massachusetts, and together they had two children; the same year, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
  O’Hara lectured on music and songwriting, and held positions at Teachers’ College of Columbia University (1936-37), Huron College and the University of South Dakota, where he later received and honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1947. He lectured for the remainder of his life. In 1920 O’Hara helped organize The Composers’ and Lyric Writers’ Protective League. He also was a board member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), was the president of the Composers-Authors Guild, and served in the United Service Organizations (USO).

   O’Hara composed over 500 popular and patriotic songs, and hymns. He had some moderate popular music hits in the 1910s with songs such as ”Your Eyes Have Told Me What I Did Not Know” (1913) and ”Tennessee, I Hear You Calling Me” (1914) and one huge hit with his song K-K-K-Katy (1918), one of the most popular tunes of the World War I era.

Reference: ”Popular American recording pioneers, 1895-1925” (2000)

Source 2,3.

From Larry Bryant’s collection of Edison Amberol Cylinder recordings is this selection of one of the most popular songs during World War I, K-K-K-Katy, written in by Geoffrey O’Hara (From here, Chatham Ontario) and sung by Billy Murray for Edison Records.

If video does not appear, watch it here.

Below Notes from here

  Born in 1882. A well known Chatham native back in the early 1900’s was a song writer who wrote over 300 songs, and one well known one was “K-K-K-Katy my Beautiful K-K-Katy” sung in the trenches of world war one. He wrote some religious tunes of which “I walked Today Where Jesus Walked” and “Prayer For Peace“. O’Hara was credited with creating “Tin Pan Alley” the stage production.

  His school years in Chatham were at McKeough Public School, where he had many leading rolls in the musicals. He was a choir boy at the Holy Trinity Church, graduated from the Chatham Collegiate Institute (CCI) in music. He left the city to further his career, and went on to teach music and song writing at University of South Dakota and the Columbia University. O’Hara appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show several times. He passed away in 1967.

More Notes: According to the entry for him in the online Encyclopedia of Music in Canada he joined Lew Dockstader’s Minstrels and went on to sing light opera as a baritone at Daly’s Theater in New York. Later O’Hara travelled the Lyceum and Chautauqua vaudeville circuits as a singer, lecturer, and community song leader. Apparently, he wrote two of his hit songs – “Give a Man a Horse He Can Ride” (1917) and “K-K-K-Katy” (1918) – while he was visiting in Kingston, Ontario.

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