Category Archives: music

Clement Welch: A Passion for Choral Music

James Clement Welch (1871-1962) emigrated from England to Canada in 1886, the year of Vancouver’s incorporation as a city — and the year of Clement’s 15th birthday. By the time he was in his mid-30s, he would lead what would … Continue reading

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Forgotten Purcell Hall

Purcell Hall and the B.C. School of Church Music (the two were ‘tied at the hip’ for most of their lives) came into being in 1936 at the SW corner of Georgia at Denman Streets (1808 W Georgia), adjacent to … Continue reading

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Jean Fuller, Night Club Owner/Singer

Substantially Updated First posted February 2016 Jean Fuller was one of very few black nightclub singers, and probably was the only female black nightclub owner, in Vancouver in the 1930s and ‘40s. The first appearance I found of Miss Fuller … Continue reading

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70 Years of FBC Organists

The early organists at First Baptist Church (1905-1975) are an intriguing collection. One was willful and arguably bad-tempered; another had an unusual name which the press messed up; one was on staff when the Sanctuary and organ burned to a … Continue reading

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Wilf Wylie

Wilf Wylie (1913-1985) was a local musician, music teacher, and band leader. He was born George Wilfred Wylie to George Primrose Wylie (1881-1949), of Bowness-on-Forth, Scotland and Marion Ida MacKay (1887-1920), of Woodstock, ON. GPW was a plumber in the … Continue reading

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The Musical Occupations of Horace W. Harpur

Horace William Harpur was a prominent Vancouver organist, pianist, and band leader in the 1890s and beyond. Family H. W. Harpur was born in England in 1869 to Rev. George Harpur and and Miriam Browne. Rev. Harpur was initially a Congregational minister … Continue reading

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Forgotten Maestro: George P. Hicks

A Funny Thing Happened . . . A funny thing happened at a pizza party I held recently for some of my friends (whom I’ve taken to referring to, collectively, as the History Five). Neil brought with him a gift … Continue reading

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Ernst’s Cello (NOT Piano) Fingers

Any piano student who has ‘short finger syndrome’ can spot a fellow-sufferer in an instant. So one look at the photo above was all it took for me to realize that this chap with stubby fingers could not have earned … Continue reading

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The Happy Wanderers: Findlater’s Elgar Choir

Charles E. Findlater (1893-1975) founded and led the Elgar Junior Choir from 1924 until shortly before his death.¹ Until Findlater received permission from English composer Sir Edward Elgar’s daughter in 1932 (there is some disagreement as to the year; in some places, … Continue reading

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John Goss: Baritone, Art Advocate, Politician, and Marxist

John Goss (1894-1953) was an Englishman by birth, but for most of his later years, he made Vancouver his home. In the 1920s and ’30s, Goss toured in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada as a recital singer, gradually building a … Continue reading

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Franklin Hall

I was recently browsing through a Vancouver newspaper which was new to me: The Greater Vancouver Chinook. The Chinook seems to have run from 1912-15, then briefly (1915-16) as the Saturday Chinook, and still later as The Standard (1916 and … Continue reading

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English Bay Theatre

Players When I happened upon the photo shown above in CVA’s collection I said to myself, “That looks like a theatrical company in costume for Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado!” I could find no mention in local newspapers in 1912 for any … Continue reading

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T. T. Shields ‘Second Fiddle’ to A. E. Greenlaw… Who?

This article appeared in the Vancouver Daily World on August 17, 1908. An intriguing aspect of the piece, to me, was that Shields, who was near the beginning of his career as an Ontario Baptist preacher of note (later, pastor at Jarvis Street Baptist … Continue reading

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An Audi Baritone: Update

Originally published October 2014. Who is the apparent rock star above? A fellow who, in his day, was a household word: American opera baritone, John Charles Thomas.  Today, his vocal stylings are not quite forgotten (although his name is all … Continue reading

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NOT a Winning ‘Campaign Promise’!

There is what appears to be a slogan on the wall of the Clowes Building (with my thanks to the comment from ChangingCity below), on Granville Street north of Davie, for Robert Reeds, erstwhile Mayoral candidate in the 1970 civic election. It … Continue reading

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Concert Pianist, Conductor, Theatre Manager…

Maynard Joiner lived a long and fruitful life. He was born on one coast of North America (in Boston) in 1894 and died on another (in Vancouver) in 1990. By the time he was 10, he was considered a child prodigy. His forté was as … Continue reading

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Scenic Subterranean Studio 20

The above portrait is of gently eccentric Jurgen Gothe (1944-2015), during his years as CBC Radio’s host of DiscDrive. He died in April. DiscDrive was produced from what Gothe regularly referred to on-air as “Scenic Subterranean Studio 20” in Vancouver’s CBC building at … Continue reading

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Zukerman’s Bassoon

This portrait shows Greater Vancouver solo bassoonist, George B. Zukerman, in his prime in 1951. There are online bios of GBZ available here and here (and elsewhere). Here is Zukerman playing his “calling card”, Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major (First Movement), among a … Continue reading

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Canterbury Coffee Shop

This photo makes me smile. It shows one of my favourite things (a coffee shop) on one of my most frequented walking streets (Burrard) and features a marching band, to boot! The band appears to be on one of the … Continue reading

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‘Tame’ Big Band

I have been a big fan of the ‘big band’ music genre for many years (when friends were wild about KISS in the 1970s, I was nuts for Benny Goodman), but Wayne King was not a band leader with whose … Continue reading

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The Quadra Club

I like this image. It shows a Seymour Street that has largely disappeared. It also shows (just barely) a sign of one of Vancouver’s enduring clubs that had a couple of locations before this address (724 Seymour). I’m referring to the Quadra … Continue reading

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Francesco Maracci’s Bluebirds Playing the Lovely. . . Pine Cone Room?

I think that the bandleader pictured above (violinist, centre) is Francesco Maracci, ‘the Venetian virtuoso’ as he was touted in The Oregonian in the early years of the 20th century. Maracci’s Bluebirds was heavily weighted towards woodwinds (saxophones figure prominently in the image). I … Continue reading

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