Thursday, April 6, 2023

Lawrence Tibbett


……”Mr. Lawrence Tibbett sang “Hail Ye Tyme (of Holiedayes)” last Tuesday and they say it went gloriously.  I missed it.  I hope you can use the publicity.  It would seem worth using.

(December 26, 1935 letter from Gena Branscombe to Mr. Austin at Arthur P.  Schmidt Company, Boston, MA. – AP Schmidt Publishing Company collection at the Library of Congress)


Yes, the famous Metropolitan Opera baritone, Lawrence Tibbett (1896-1960) performed Gena Branscombe’s Christmas song, “Hail Ye Tyme of Holiedayes” in December 1935.  Whether on radio or concert is not known.  Tibbett an operatic baritone was also a star of movies and sang on the radio.  He has a Hollywood Star of Fame.  And, he was the first singer of his era who was wholly American trained!


In her letter Gena asks Mr. Schmidt if he can use this information for publicity knowing it would be worth using.  To have someone as famous as Lawrence Tibbett perform one of your songs and have that advertised could raise curiosity and sales of all of her songs and that means royalties paid to the composer.

Frank La Forge was one of Tibbett’s teachers.  La Forge was a well-known New York City teacher, accompanist and coach.  In 1917 Gena instructed her publisher, Mr. Schmidt, to send multiple copies of her songs to La Forge.  No doubt that is how Mr. Tibbett came to know Gena’s songs.


The music world is a small world.  What is assumed to be only six degrees of separation in life - in the music world the degrees of separation are three or less.

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