Mr. Watson’s singing classes

Well, there were, of course, Mr. Watson’s singing classes in the Wintertime which were very nice…

Ursula (Edwards) Jupp remembers the Gordon Head Athletic Club

On September 30 1916, the Gordon Head Athletic Club began to plan for the long Fall and Winter evenings. President W.T. Edwards “suggested that a very important branch should be teaching of music to our young people. Mr. Watson, who is known widely and well as a choir leader and singer, was asked to accept the convenorship of the club’s committee on music and he very kindly agreed to give each and every Friday evening to this work. The first singing practice to take place on Friday October 6th at 7.30 P.M.

On November 20 1916, “Mr. Watson gave a good report of the work in his department and felt that there was much reason for encouragement from the manner in which the young people were attending to their singing.” On January 2nd 1917, “Mr. Edwards reported for the music committee in the absence of the convenor. He reported an ever increasing interest as shown by attention and attendance.” At the first Annual Meeting, “Mr. Edwards reported for Mr. Watson on the music committee, telling just how much this work has meant in the community and sincerely hoping the classes might open in the autumn under the same leadership.”

George F. Watson, fruit grower. Photo credit: Saanich Archives

George Fraser Watson was a Gordon Head fruit-grower and Saanich School Trustee. Watson was also a well-known singer and choir master. This is a good overview of Watson’s musical career: “Mr. Watson had been a familiar figure in the musical world of this city for a generation. He was conductor of the choir of Calvary Baptist Church for thirteen years, and for many years past had been associated with the choir of First United Church. He was a member of the Victoria Male Choir… (The Daily Colonist, February 22 1930)

Watson first met his wife Elizabeth at a choir practice in 1890s Victoria. They were still singing together many years later — at the July 15 1916 South Saanich Women’s Institute Flower Show “Mr. and Mrs. Watson of Gordon Head gave a concert in the evening.” The Watsons’ daughter Marjorie was very musical. At a 1917 Empire Day concert at Gordon Head Hall, Miss Marjorie Watson performed “The Song The Kettle Is Singing” and a piano duet. Marjorie, a soprano, later won several singing competitions.

Marjorie Watson and her singing trophies. Photo credit: Saanich Archives

Next – Dances at Gordon Head Hall