George Calangis

George Calangis. Conductor, mandolinist, banjoist, b Vancouver 14 Jun 1916, d there 1 Jul 1966. As a boy he performed in vaudeville in an ensemble with his five sisters - Geneva, Angelina, Mary, Helen, and Ethel.

Calangis, George

George Calangis. Conductor, mandolinist, banjoist, b Vancouver 14 Jun 1916, d there 1 Jul 1966. As a boy he performed in vaudeville in an ensemble with his five sisters - Geneva, Angelina, Mary, Helen, and Ethel. Billed as the Musical Calangis Family, they played mandolins and banjos of various registers. George, who studied violin with George Brailey, was especially skilled on the mandolin. The Calangis sisters also became proficient in string instruments and piano. The family ensemble performed 1929-32 in Seattle, San Francisco, and, for a period, on KNX radio and in leading nightclubs in Los Angeles. It specialized in light-classical music with a continental flavour, to which it added Mexican music during its US sojourn.

Returning to Vancouver the group became the staff orchestra 1933-43 on CKCD radio, and in 1934, augmented by other musicians, began performing on CBC radio for such shows as 'Music from the Pacific,' 'Continental Varieties,' and 'Music from the Riviera'. After service in World War II as music director of the RCAF Blackouts, George led the orchestra at the Commodore Ballroom until the early 1950s, and continued to conduct CBC orchestras for radio ('Calangis and Co,' 'Continental Varieties,' and others) and TV ('Bamboula,' 'Meet Lorraine,' and 'Lolly Too Dum') until the mid-1950s. By then, however, music had become secondary to a career in business.

Of the Calangis sisters, three remained active in music after the mid-1950s. Angelina, who had studied violin with Arthur Gramm, Wilfred Rutley, Jean de Rimanoczy, and Gregori Garbovitsky, became a member (1932-3 and 1938- ), and principal second violin (1951-4 and 1966-81), of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She is the widow of John Avison. Mary, a cellist, played 1944-6, 1952-9 and 1962-82 with the Vancouver SO, and Geneva, a pianist and pupil of Helen Devlin, taught privately and assisted teachers of dance.


Further Reading

  • Wedman, Les. 'Music by Calangis,' Vancouver Province BC Magazine, 26 Dec 1953

    Smith, Bob. 'Remember?' Vancouver Sun, 28 Jul 1967