This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire

Previous - Page 201 or Next - Page 203

She prepared [or Grand Opera under the tutelage of the world­ famous tenor, M. Jean de Reszke, and made her operatic debut at Covent Garden, London, in 1913, in the role of Maddalena in Verdi's "Rigoletto" .

It was also in 1913 that she married Max Colyer-Fergusson in a colorful ceremony at St. George's Church, Hanover-Square. (She was living in Kensington Palace Mansions at that time.) W. W. Miller had passed away before this date, and she entered the church on the arm of Lord Strathcona. There were upwards from one hundred guests at the reception.

This lovely, talented Portager passed away on June 18, 1936. Dorothy (Dolly) Toye, who received her education in Portage, also made headlines in the musical world by being accepted in the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York. Her unusual talent of being able to sing soprano and tenor equally well added to' her popularity.

Another Portager who became a national musical figure as a soloist was Edith Lever-Hawes, Her husband was a pianist and often acted as her accompanist. She studied in England, and was soloist in Grace Church in Winnipeg for some time.

Two sisters, Lila and Mae Mawhinney, both contraltos, are also credited with having been exceptionally fine vocalists.

Redfern and Percy Hollingshead were active in musical circles too; Redfern, as director of a choir, and Percy as a tenor.

There was an English fellow, Charles B. Burlay, who was in charge of the Baptist choir around 1905. He is remembered as having an admirable tenor voice also.

In the early 1900s many names appear on the Portage roster of vocalists. It is regrettable that detailed information about each one is not available. Even some of the first names are missing! They were Mrs. Ditchfield, Mrs. Campbell Miller, Vera Sparling Hullett, Mr. Nelson, A. Williams, IVIL McIntyre, Mr. Evans and probably many more.

Mrs. R. Johnson, a registered music teacher, organist and choir leader contributed a great deal toward musical appreciation from 1906 to 1944; and the name of Fred Whitely, who came from England in 1906 and stayed in Portage until 1912, has been men­ tioned by old-timers as having been a talented music booster.

, Musical history would be very incomplete if we did not record the achievements of a talented Portager, James D. McRae, son of