|Notes for Elizabeth Ann EVANS|
|Obituary Edmonton, Alberta Saturday April 16, 1938723|
Mme. Duggan, Music Leader Here, Is Dead
Won Acclaim at 19; Once Sang for Queen Victoria
Prominent In City
Madame Bessie Evans Duggan, 64, Edmonton's leading woman musician, who at 19
crossed the Atlantic to complete in a world's fair at Chicago, triumphing
over 80 contestants to win the contralto award, and who knew the proud joy
of singing for a queen of Britian and a President of the United States, died
at her home in Garneau here Friday evening.
Death following an illiness of almost two years. Her husband, Joseph J.
Duggan, city realtor and insurance man, and her only son, Kenneth, were with
her when she died.
She is survived also by a sister, Mrs. Ernest Meaden, also prominent in
musical circles and secretary of the Women's Musical club and by a cousin,
Alfred Dale Davies, Ottawa.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 2:30 p.m. at Knox United church,
where seats have been reserved for the Women's Musical club and the Welsh
society. Interment will be made at Mount Pleasant cemetery.
For many years Madame Duggan has been a leading figure in the musical life
of Edmonton, Alberta and the west. Her name was known wherever musical
gathering were held and her active support was counted on in any musical
For 16 years, until she became ill in July, 1936, she directed the women's
Musical club chorus. She held various executive posts in the Musical club,
including the president's office for three years, was at one time president
of the Edmonton Musical Festival association, leader of Knox church choir,
adjuicator on a number of occasions in district musical festivals and a
well-known vocal teacher.
Madame Duggan was born at Builth Wells Breconshire, Wales, the daughter of
the late Evan Evans, who was known as Llew Buallt or the Lion of Builth.
She came by her musical gifts naturally. Her father earned his title as the
most famous conductor at Welsh Etsteddfodi or musical competitions.
As a young girl she was much in demand for concert programs and had receive
a thorough training in the vocal art from her father and later from the
noted conductor of the Royal Welsh Ladies choir, Madame Clara Novello
Davies, mother of the well-known playwright Ivor Novello.
In 1893 Madame Duggan, who was a member of the choir, journeyed across the
ocean with Madame Davies and the choir to complete in the World's Fair at
Chicago. Her success in the severe contralto competition was acclaimed
throughout Wales, In the choral contest that followed, the Welsh choir also
was successful in winning the coveted prize.
The following year Madame Duggan returned with the choir for a touring
engagement of the United States. On her previous visit she had the honor of
singing before President and Mrs. McKinley at the White House and during
both trips made a great many friends with some of whom she corresponded
until the end.
On the choir's return to Wales, Madame Davies was invited to take the
successful choir to sing before Queen Victoria at Osborne Madorae, Duggan
was chosen to give a solo. It was understood the queen was partial to Sir
Arthur Sullivan's music and the song she sang was his Sleep My Love Sleep.
Afterward her father sent his talented daughter in the Royal Academy of
Music London to have her "taught how to sing!" At the academy where she
studied three years she won the gold medal for her singing.
In 1903 she became the wife of Joseph J. Duggan. Six years later they came
to Nanton Alberta after which she joined the staff of the Calgary
Conservatory of Music.
Souvenirs of Homeland
Among the souvenirs of her homeland treasured by her family is a program
entitled "Farewell Concert in Madame Bessie Evans, R.A.M." given in her
honor by her native town and a large handkerchief grown grey with the years,
quantities of which the draper of Builth had made and imprinted with her
name and photograph to commemerate her triumph at the World's fair.
In 1914 Madame Duggan came with her family to live in Edmonton. At once she
devoted her energies in the art she loved. for many years she taught vocal
music at Alberta College, conducted the Club Chorus of 50 voices and
latterly adjudicated in various parts of the province on many occasions.
During the years she headed the Women's Musical club she was instrumental in
bringing to this city such a world-renowned musican as Rachmaninoff, Schipa
Gallt-Curer, Florence Austral, Hettetz Edward Johnson and Fritz Kreisler.
The walls of her music room in her Garneau home are covered with autographed
photographs of these and other celebrated men and women with whom she came
in contact during her long career.
Instance of the extend to which Madame Duggan was knowned occured here
several years ago when she was visited by a Mr. and Mrs. Roderick who farmed
100 miles south of Edmonton. They had come from Wales a dozen years before
they told her and Mrs. Roderick still had among her treasured possessions a
Bessie Evans album she had kept for nearly 40 years.
Music critics in Edmonton were shocked by her death.
She's been a wonderful influence for music said Mrs. Vernon Barfor,
president of the Women's Musical club.
"She always expected the highest standard in her teaching in her chorus,
anything she undertook. I always had a great admiration for her work. Her
death brings a great loss indeed to musical Edmonton."
|Notes for Joseph Jenkyn (Spouse 1)|
|Joseph J. Duggan:723|
Born in Radnorshire County, Wales, in 1873; son of Thomas and Frances (nee
Williams) Duggan. Educated in public schools of Wales. Spent fifteen years
in the merchandising business. Arrived in Edmonton in 1912 and opened a real
estate office. Head of J.J. Duggan Co., a real estate and insurance firm for
27 years. Recognized as a leading authority on Alberta's assessment and
taxation problems; member of Alberta Assessment Commission and Alberta Tax
Inquiry Board. Member of Canadian Authors' Association and author of "The
unforgettable valley." Member of the Presbyterian Church, Masonic Lodge,
Edmonton Board of Trade, and Kiwanis Club. Public School Board trustee,
vice-chairman of the Edmonton Hospital Board. A Liberal in politics. Married
Bessie Evans in 1904. His wife was a well-known contralto singer who sang
before the Queen of England and in the White House. One son. Died on
February 10, 1940.
Edmonton Bulletin, December 9, 1915, p. 14
Source of Text:
Alberta past and present v. 2, p. 21-22
Edmonton Journal, February 12, 1940, p. 11
Edmonton public school board trustees
Duggan, Joseph J., 1917-1920
Joseph Jenkins Duggan, son of Thomas and Frances (nee Williams) Duggan.
Birth: ABT 1873 in Llansaintfread in Elvel, Radnorshire, Wales
Married Bessie Evans (daughter of Evan Evans) 1904. She was a well-known
contralto singer who sang before the Queen of England and in the White House
Immigration: JUL 1905 to Alberta, Canada
Arrived in Edmonton in 1912
Census: 1901 Llanelwedd, Radnor
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