Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Musical Legacy

4th Great Grandfather William Reese DAVIES (1805-1865) had a wonderful voice.  It was reported to sound like a flute and he was asked to sing for the Queen [Victoria] of England on three different occasions. (See Short history by Cora A. Fonda and Rebecca Williams Stapley [granddaughters of Elizabeth Davies].) 

from left: James George DAVIS and son James Lorenzo DAVIS with Kanarraville, Utah band. 

The family participated in singing at the Welsh National Eisteddfods. 
3rd Great Grandfather James George DAVIS (1832-1909) son of William Reese DAVIES was the winner of the highest National Eisteddfod award as a tenor soloist. (The National Eisteddfod of Wales is the largest festival of competive music and poetry in Europe. See: History of Elisha Hurd Groves, William Rees Davies and Related Families by Packer, pg. 131.)

When James Davis hauled logs or road to the ranch he would sing at the top of his voice all the way! He was Welsh and just loved to sing. (See: Together Again by Sophia [Parker] Stapley, pg. 78, 83.)
"Grandpa Davies was a Welshman, very sociable, and lover of music and had a very good voice and was always invited to sing whenever an occasion presented itself.  The Welsh used to get together, often holding regular singing  festivals (Wakes).   There were many good singers among them.  Grandpa was always the leader.  When Grandpa was leading the singing, he would always take off his hat and fold it three-cornered like and whip it back and forth across his leg keeping time to the music, so the singers could stay together and follow the beat of the music."  (Together Again by Sophia Stapley, pg. 80.)  James Davis "organized a quartet, in which he had the lead. The other three singers were Martha Williams, John D. Williams, and Henry Davis.  They were very popular and almost every social occasion called for the 'Welsh Quartet' to entertain the crowd. It pleased the singers to be active, as there was nothing they enjoyed better than using their voices to make harmonious music together.  Later when John D. was called back to Wales on a mission, by co-incidence he met up with an elderly lady there who was a former friend of Grandpa's. She asked John D. about 'the little white curly haired boy who was such a good child singer'.  John told her that he was still living, but that he was an old man with grey curly hair now, and still a good singer.  (memories of Esther Parker Robb, Together Again by Sophia [Parker] Stapley, pg. 83-84.) 

4th Great Grandfather Francis HAWKES (1830-1899) "[Francis] Sang and played the harmonica very well." (Story of the life of Hyrum David Davidson and his wife Eliza Hawkes Davidson, by a daughter Leona d. Kennard february 1962.)

Great Grandmother Laura Elizabeth PARKER (1889-1970) sang at LDS Church meetings in Kanarraville, Utah. “We were favored with a song by Rocina Williams, Laura Parker and Sarah Roundy. After which the young men retired to their room…” (Kanaraville, YMMIA Minutes 1901-1913 / pp. 9-10 (5 Feb 1902).

Laura had quit Branch Normal School in Cedar City after completing two of the three years. Laura was an exceptional home maker.  So her father promised her the family piano as pay if she would stay home in Kanarraville and care for the family home and her invalid mother. She quit school but later had to pay her father of the piano which she had in her home until the late 1950's.    

Great Grandfather (fifth from left back row) George Ensign SMITH (1898-1967) sang tenor with the Salt Lake City, Swanee Singers (1930's and 40's).  The male chorus sang light classical love songs such as "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life," and "The Desert Song." 

Also in the 1920's Ensign SMITH was a regular soloist on the Standard Oil Company Radio Show in Sacramento California.

Grandmother (front row left end) Camilla SMITH (1926-1999) in the Girls' Chorus of Highland Stake 1944, she had a beautiful alto voice and she played piano. When the girls were young she would play and we would all sing from "Fireside Book of Folk Songs" 1947. One of her daughters saved the book and uses it for singalongs at Family Dinner. Grandchildren have found the folk songs book to use in their own families. 

Grandmother (back row 4th from left) Wanda Myrl ROBERSON (1921-2012) played the trombone in the English Indian School Band about 1938.  She was the Ward Chorister for many years in several different states. Wanda played the piano.

You and our posterity add to this Musical Legacy

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