Get to know two of Guelph’s lesser-known composers and poets
Roberta Geddes-Harvey and Lydia Frances Williamson contributed personally and collaboratively
The Guelphites made necessary contributions to music and literature, however not all of them achieved the lasting fame of historic celebrities comparable to opera tenor Edward Johnson and poet John McCrae.
A number of had been identified of their day, however have fallen into obscurity since their loss of life. Amongst them are composer, organist and conductor Roberta Geddes-Harvey; and poet and lyricist Lydia Frances Williamson (née Buckland).
These girls would contribute to the humanities as people and as collaborators.
Anne Catherine Roberta Geddes was born in Hamilton on Christmas Day 1849. She graduated in music from Trinity Faculty in Toronto the place she studied below three of the best music educators of the time: Humfrey Anger, Edward Fisher and Arthur E Fisher (no relation). She held a number of organist positions in Hamilton earlier than shifting to Guelph in 1876 to be organist and conductor at St. George’s Church.
She held this place for 50 years. Geddes married an area man, Gardiner George Harvey, with whom she had 4 youngsters.
Geddes-Harvey was a prolific composer. She wrote hymns, hymns, songs and instrumental works, her most artistic interval being from 1897 to 1919. Her opera The Good Earth (aka Land of the Maple Leaf) premiered on the Guelph Opera Home in 1903. It’s now a misplaced work, with just one piece surviving in an adaptation known as “The Previous Boys Welcome.”
His oratorio Salvator premiered in St. George’s in 1907 earlier than being launched in Boston and carried out in Toronto.
Lydia Frances Buckland was born on June 24, 1860, the youngest of six youngsters – all born in Guelph – to Charles John Buckland and Annabelle Sanders.
Charles and Annabelle had been each from England. He had settled close to Guelph in 1835 by way of a land grant known as the Buckland Survey. His household had settled on a bit of land on the Pace River known as Arnoldsvale.
Annabelle had prestigious inventive connections in England. She was associated by her mom to the painter Sir Thomas Lawrence and the poet Matthew Arnold.
In 1872, Charles and Annabelle moved to California with their two youngest youngsters as a result of Charles’ poor well being. Nonetheless, by 1881 Lydia was again in Guelph and was married to James Bertram Williamson, a dry items service provider. They might have 4 youngsters, all born in Guelph.
It is unclear when Lydia began writing poetry, however she did not begin publishing it till the early 1900s, when she was in her 40s. She wrote below the identify Lydia Frances Williamson and in addition below the identify Richard Scrace.
His work has appeared in Canadian publications as various as The Ontario Agricultural Faculty Examination, the Toronto Globe, and the Victoria Each day Colonist; in American periodicals comparable to Los Angeles Saturday Submit and the San Francisco Overland month-to-month; and in a British journal titled The Queen.
Williamson’s poems have been included in a number of prestigious anthologies: The Oxford Guide of Canadian Verse (1913), Canadian poems of the Nice Warfare (1918), TOronto Girls’s Press Membership: Verse and Reverse (1922), Canadian poets and poetry (1926), and Our Canadian Literature, Consultant Verse (1934). She and her son Garrett collaborated on a e-book of poetry, Duo for cello and drums, which was revealed in Toronto in 1947.
Williamson wrote the lyrics to 5 musical compositions by Roberta Geddes-Harvey: Vacationers, Quest for love, A struggle tune, My summer time and A tune of hope. The Guelph Civic Museum has unique copies of the scores for the primary three.
In 1918 Williamson and his youngest son Richard moved to Evanston, Illinois to stay along with his daughter Anna. Her husband remained in Guelph, the place he died in 1921.
On the time of his loss of life on February 7, 1952, Williamson was residing with Richard and his household in Battleboro, Vermont. Roberta Geddes-Harvey died in Guelph on April 22, 1930.
Roberta Geddes-Harvey’s musical achievements have earned her recognition as one of many first Canadian feminine composers. Biographical notes about him will be discovered within the Canadian Encyclopedia, Wikipedia (a preferred on-line encyclopedia) and reference books comparable to Norton / Grove Dictionary of Girls Composers.
A bit extra elusive is the biographical info on Lydia Frances Williamson. Her life and poetry have caught the eye of researchers on the Canadian Early Girls Writers Mission sponsored by Simon Fraser College, which focuses on works revealed earlier than 1950. Duo for cello and drums will be discovered on-line.
Nonetheless, Lydia may nicely be thought-about one in all Guelph’s misplaced poets.