Gideon Hicks

Gideon Hicks. Bass-baritone, teacher, conductor, b Stoke-Climsland, Cornwall, England, 24 Jun 1868, d Victoria, BC, 23 Nov 1958. A pupil of C.C. Bethune in London, where he sang in concert and oratorio, Hicks moved to Vancouver in 1889.

Hicks, Gideon

Gideon Hicks. Bass-baritone, teacher, conductor, b Stoke-Climsland, Cornwall, England, 24 Jun 1868, d Victoria, BC, 23 Nov 1958. A pupil of C.C. Bethune in London, where he sang in concert and oratorio, Hicks moved to Vancouver in 1889. Though at first a carpenter, he played flute in Vancouver's first orchestra, sang locally, and tuned pianos on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. He also established the short-lived piano firm Hicks and Lovick. He moved in 1898 to Victoria, where he was choirmaster 1898-1909 at Metropolitan Church and conductor of the Victoria Choral Society. With an augmented church choir and orchestra he conducted Messiah and The Creation with such soloists as Emma Albani and Robert Watkin-Mills. Until 1922 he was manager for Vancouver Island of Heintzman &Co.

Frequently a soloist with the Vancouver Musical Society, Hicks also sang in recitals accompanied by Gertrude Huntly Green. He made his radio debut ca 1921 in Seattle, accompanied by Leopold Godowsky. Though Elijah was his favorite work, he also sang annually in performances of Messiah for 40 years. Encouraged by Otto Morando, with whom he studied in the summers 1920-2 during the tenor's visits to Victoria, Hicks opened his own studio in Victoria in 1920 and began teaching part-time in Vancouver in 1925. He moved to Vancouver in 1932 and was president 1939-40 of the Vancouver Music Teachers' Association. He retired to Victoria in 1949 but continued to teach. His pupils included Bernie Braden, Brian Hanson, Gordon Heron, Derek MacDermot, Satoshi Nakamura, Karl Norman, Eric Tredwell, and Alan Watson.

Hicks' brothers George and William also were active musically, George as conductor of the Vancouver Choral Society and first supervisor of music 1904-19 in Vancouver schools, William as a choirmaster in New Westminster, BC.