Friday, April 4, 2014

Agnes Conway

In March 2008, Martin and I presented “Life! Love! Song!  A Visit with Gena Branscombe” at Hofstra University.  Little did we know that in the audience that day was a former member of the Branscombe Choral, Agnes Conway.  At the talk-back after our concert, a woman raised her hand and said she had her personal pictures and programs of the Branscombe Choral and letters from Gena Branscombe that she would like to give me.  To say the least, the audience was as surprised as we were!  A Branscombe Choral member was in our midst! 

In a binder lovingly cross-stitched with Gena Branscombe’s name and a fancy border, we found two Christmas greetings from Gena, copies of two articles written by the composer/conductor for the “Showcase, Music Clubs Magazine,” an invitation to a tea in honor of Gena’s 90th birthday, concert programs, and letters from the composer to Agnes.  In addition a small photo album again with cross-stitch, “The Branscombe Choral 1954” on the cover, filled with black and white photos of the chorus members.  Agnes had identified as many of the women as possible.  What treasured gifts.  

How did Agnes come to attend the concert at Hofstra?  Visiting a friend, she was looking through the local paper when she came upon the ad for “Life! Love! Song!  A Visit with Gena Branscombe.”  Surprised, she was!  Upon returning home, she immediately purchased tickets to the performance for herself and her daughter.  Then, those Branscombe Choral items she was thinking of throwing away……well, she went to work creating the cross-stitch covers and placed her memorabilia in the binders. 

After the talk back, Agnes and her daughter came up on the stage and looked at all of our props, pictures, tea tray, and more.  She even knew that during the show when Gena answers the telephone, then says, “Hello, Emma,” that Emma was Emma Davidson, President of the Branscombe Choral and dear friend of Gena’s.  She caught the detail!  

Agnes Conway sang in the final three concerts of The Branscombe Choral, December 1953, Spring 1954 and December 1954.  Her memories of her conductor, Gena Branscombe, were sweet ones of a leader who encouraged high musical standards and one who made music performance a joy!

Today, Agnes and I are friends on Facebook.  She comments on my postings about women composers or my general postings about life!  What a dear person and a connection some 60 years later to Gena Branscombe, her leader, teacher and conductor!

No comments:

Post a Comment