Monday, July 16, 2012

The Fingerprints of Friendship

There were others who helped the young violinist Donna Grescoe achieve the acclaim she deserved for her musical talents. Some who supported her year in Chicago might have been those mentioned in the program I found among Agnes Tully Stevens’ papers.

There were undoubtedly many others, especially from her hometown of Winnipeg, who were not mentioned here or elsewhere. However, many people’s efforts, gifts and well-wishes went into sponsoring her formative training years.

After her year studying at the Conservatory in Chicago, Donna Grescoe returned to her home in Canada. Still hard at work pursuing her goals, she continued receiving acclaim for her talents. After her formal debut there in 1946, several supporters formed a trust fund on her behalf. From the proceeds of this, she was able to further her studies in New York—where she debuted in 1947, followed by her performance at Carnegie Hall in 1948. Small wonder, leading up to such events occurring in Donna's life, that Agnes’ son Frank Stevens would be surprised to receive any letters from her!

Each step of the way, there were people willing to become a part of the success she earned through her talents. The Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs was one example in promoting Donna’s Canadian tour, as seen in a 1949 article from The Newmarket Era and Express. Of course, The Ukrainian Weekly was her avid supporter, including favorable reviews of her performances and sharing reports of headlines from New York papers.

But nothing seemed so personal as whatever thoughts were behind the saving of this simple recital program I found among the papers of my husband’s grandmother. Despite never being included in the names listed as patrons or sponsors, there must have been some nearly-imperceptible connection between this child violinist and that one music-loving family on the south side of Chicago during the 1930s.

Patrons and Patronesses
Most Rev. Bernard Sheil, D. D., V. G.
Rt. Rev. Msgr. J. J. Horsburgh
Rev. Daniel A. Lord
Rev. J. H. Fitzgerald
Dr. and Mrs. P. Kanchier
Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Haake
Mr. and Mrs. Allan Findlay
Mrs. Samuel Roebuck
Mr. and Mrs. John R. Hattstaedt

The instrument used by Donna was presented to her
last year by Mr. Carl George of Chicago


  1. Charles J. Haake was the Director of Chicago's North Shore School of Music.

    John James Hattstaedt founded the American Conservatory of Music )in Chicago) and his son, John Robert Hattstaedt, listed on the program was the President.

    Dr. Paul Kanchier is often shown in the Ukranian Weekly as "Ukrainian Professional Association, c/o Dr. Paul Kanchier, Secretary-Treasurer, 9300 Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, Il"

    1. Your mention of the Cottage Grove address caught my eye, Iggy. It happens to be where the former campus of St. Xavier College was located (per Sister Mary Patricia Dawson's return address from the 1950s mentioned in the post from a while ago). Her address was given simply as Cottage Grove Avenue and 49th Street. The current campus for St. Xavier College is no longer at that location--or the street names have changed. At any rate, I wonder if there is a link between Dr. Paul Kanchier and St. Xavier College, linking these acquaintances even further.


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