The St. Genevieve Academy Glee Club Performances
by Patricia Anderson
Participating in the St. Genevieve Glee Club has written indelible memories on the hearts and minds of its members. For several years during Mother Potts’ tenure at St. Genevieve, at graduation, under the direction of Dr. Frank Edwinn, local voice professor and former opera performer, and accompanied by Mary Jo de Nardo Ford, the students sang a designated selection in a four-year cycle: “The Watch of St. Genevieve,” words by Mother Margaret Potts and music by Mary Jo Ford; “The Ballad for Americans” by John La Touche and Earl Robinson; “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and set to music by Ford; and “The Land of the Sky” by Mother Potts with music by Sister Madeline LeBlanc.
Members of the SGP Class of ’56 happily recall their experiences in the Glee Club. Sally Lewis Rhoades notes that “Watch” and “Land of the Sky” both tied in to the founding of St. Gen and were “great fun to sing.” Mary Alice Powell Adams adds that “several of us had solos in ‘The Lady of Shallot,’ including Sally, Nancy Coston Barwick, and myself, a reluctant soloist, pressed into service by my private voice teacher, Dr. Edwinn.”
In addition to recalling the excitement of the celebrated commencement performances, Angela Brown Miotto laughs, “I was in the Glee Club but not because of any musical talent! I remember that Mother Lunsford, in grammar school, always used to have me sit in the group that was told to just be quiet! Louise Lambert, however, had a beautiful voice singing many solos, especially in the early grades.”
Ruth Wilkins Algary adds, “I was also in the elite class of those told ‘don’t sing, just mouth the words!’ I also remember memorizing the entire ‘Lady of Shalott’ and reciting it in class. I still remember most of it.”
Maria Lamprinakos Collias points out that the Glee Club accompanist, Mary Jo Ford, also played the organ for her wedding. “Mary Jo’s father was Joe DeNardo, the band leader at Lee Edwards,” remembers Sally. “A happy conjunction of talent” during this period - Dr. Edwinn, Mary Jo Ford, and Mother Potts – created memorable musical experiences for the young women of St. Genevieve’s.