Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Gena at our Spring Luncheon


A new photo of Gena Branscombe appeared in my e-mail thanks to her grandson, Roger.  What a lovely picture it is.  

By the style of the dress, hat and handbag, I would guess the photo was taken in the 1940s.  Looking closely at her hands, she is holding a baton.

 On the back of the picture it says, “Gena at our Spring luncheon.”  I presume the luncheon would have been the Branscombe Choral Spring luncheon. 

No date or identifying information is given.    

Friday, August 12, 2022

Self-promotion/Tito Schipa


Self-promotion….self-promotion for artists….a very difficult function of our career journey with networking, making sure our names are associated with our talent and performances, conversing about ourselves and always creating a personal narrative that will sell, sell, sell.  From afar we admire artists who fly through this process without self-doubt. We try to imitate them or learn to do what they seem to do with ease.  Yet, we all come to acknowledge that self-promotion, though it is a necessary part of our business, is a challenge.


November 14, 1926, a letter from Gena Branscombe to Mr. Austin at Arthur P. Schmidt Company in Boston:

“I’ve an appointment with Mr. Schipa  – this Wednesday – am showing him a manuscript song – and if you will send me on the following songs (as I’ve none here) I’ll take them in also.  “There’s a Woman like a Dewdrop”  “Hail Ye Tyme of Holiedayes” “Three Mystic Ships”  “At the Postern Gate” and “Happiness.””


Mr. Schipa was the world renowned tenor, Tito Schipa (1889-1965).  He was known for having a beautiful lyric line in his voice.  Though his voice was not a large one, he was heard to the back of any big opera or concert hall in which he performed.  He was equally at home singing opera and concert repertoire.  Schipa was one of the highest paid classical singers of his day who also loved his celebrity life style.


Ever the self-promoter, somehow Gena Branscombe was able to make contact with Mr. Schipa.  She may have had a friend of a friend who helped, contacted someone with his management company and maybe by direct contact. 


She created a time to present her songs to this world class singer. Research into Schipa’s concert programs shows no indication that he performed Gena’s songs.  Together they worked on her songs on Wednesday, November 17, 1926.  Her November 19, 1926 letter to Mr. Austin acknowledged. “Had a fine session with Mr. Schipa.” 


Gena Branscombe seemed to have a knack for self-promotion for she knew the only way to have her music performed was to make contact with performers.  And, that she did with great determination.  BRAVA, Gena. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

My Artistic Creed


Though I have posted this quote several years ago, when I came upon it once again, I was moved by Miss Branscombe's personal message.  

“My Artistic Creed” 


“It is – to be ever constant in my endeavor to express thru music a firm faith in the joy, beauty, and harmony underlying life, the certainty of a loving and sustaining Higher Power which helps us in all our undertakings, & the value of a high courage.  Music is to me the most beautiful & instantaneous road to God.  I feel it to be one of the most potent forces for regeneration operating on the earth.” 


 Gena Branscombe -  Diary entry, Sunday, July 13, 1916