Yankton Press & Dakotan
October 18, 1941 (Evening); p. 6, col 4.
Amy Ellerman, Contralto, Delights Large Audience; Ann Gordon At Piano
by Annie E. Tennent
A record audence [sic] greeted Amy Ellerman last evening at her recital in Forbes Hall Auditorium on the even of Pioneer Day at Yankton College. No better choice could have been made for the occasion, both from the standpoint of popularity and still more of real artistry. Friendship will do much for a singer, and Miss Ellerman has retained a host of friends in this locality, but it will not draw audiences unless the singer has something worth while to offer.
The true artist is shown in the fact that Miss Ellerman does not sing down to her audience. She gives of her best and there lies one secret of her continuous hold on those who have heard her even once. In the years which have passed since her last appearance in Yankton her voice has grown in opulence, her artistry has matured. She is that type of singer who sinks self in the interpretation of the music in hand, the ear mark of the true artist.
With the exception of the Haydn “Spirit’s Song” the program was drawn wholly from Romantic and more modern sources, and one is reminded again of the riches of song literature which must remain a sealed book to most of us unless some one with the requisite talent has searched out and interprets for us gems such as those which made up last evening’s program. The familiar numbers took on fresh beauty in the sympathetic presentation. Schubert, Strauss, Wolf, comprised the first half of the offering; the aria, “Close by the Ramparts of Seville” from Carmen, was the dramatic episode; a group of exquisite French songs, and a group of American songs completed the program as listed. It was most generously lengthened by encores throughout, and after repeated recalls and responses at the close the audience was loath to leave.
One might speak of the various details of the singer’s art, the rich beauty of tone, its wondrous shading, its power, its delicacy, its range, the clearness of diction throughout the unaffected pose of manner; they were there in abundance, but used not as an end in themselves, but as the means toward a greater end, an interpretation worth of and enhancing the artistry of the songs, each in its own character.
Who was it said that a special heaven is reserved for accompanists? That being the case, Miss Gordon will have a high seat therein. Reliable, sure, supporting, ornamenting, sympathetic to every mood and nuance of the singer, yet ever unobtrusive, Miss Gordon did a brilliant piece of work, sharing with the singer in the success of the evening.
To write of the personal careers of Miss Ellerman and Miss Gordon is unnecessary, for both are well known. In many respects their lives have parallelled [sic]. Growing up in Yankton, both were educated in the Conservatory of Music here, distinguished as students for their energy and persistence, even more essential qualities for success than the large share of talent which each possessed. On graduation each was retained on the faculty where they served effectively until at thir [sic] own request they withdrew to seek a place in the larger world of music. Their gifts and attainments at once won recognition, and their wide studies and strength of character have won for them the high places in the musical world which they now occupy.
And so, to repeat, no better choice would have been made for the opening of Pioneer Day than these two distinguished alumni of the Conservatory of Music, honored by their presence, but which, in turn, they delight to honor with ever loyal acknowledgement.
I purchased roughly 25 original issues of the Yankton (South Dakota) Press & Dakotan, dating from 1938 to 1946. I am systematically going through every issue and will be posting the articles that include the names of individuals. I am happy to email full-size scans of any article. Feel free to ask.
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