'Opportunity Knocks'

'Opportunity Knocks'. National talent competition sponsored by CBC radio and broadcast from Toronto and Montreal 2 Jul 1947-29 Sep 1957. It was initiated and directed by John Adaskin, who also conducted the orchestra. There were three series per season, usually of 10 weeks each.

'Opportunity Knocks'

'Opportunity Knocks'. National talent competition sponsored by CBC radio and broadcast from Toronto and Montreal 2 Jul 1947-29 Sep 1957. It was initiated and directed by John Adaskin, who also conducted the orchestra. There were three series per season, usually of 10 weeks each. Horace Lapp was the accompanist during the entire life of the show. Adaskin made some auditioning trips across the country but most of the auditions were held in the CBC Toronto studios - out-of-town contestants could submit recordings - and four performers were selected for each broadcast and received professional fees. Weekly winners were chosen at first by studio-audience response and mail-in votes, and later by a panel of judges. Semi-finalists competed again at the end of each series, at which time a Grand Award winner and two or three runners-up were chosen, again by a panel of judges, among whom were Adaskin, Jean-Marie Beaudet, Helmut Blume, Herman Geiger-Torel, Richard Johnston, and Geoffrey Waddington. The three Grand Award winners received contracts to appear on the 13-week summer series known as 'Opportunity Winners' and broadcast alternately from Toronto and Montreal. First runners-up each received $100, second and third runners-up each $75. An announcers' competition category was replaced in 1950 by a composers' category. Composers whose works won first prizes and honourable mentions were Murray Adaskin (1953), Maurice Blackburn (1951), Alexander Brott (1954), Johnny Burt (1951, 1953), Harry Freedman (1951), Hector Gratton (1952), Calvin Jackson (1952), Sandy Jones (1954), Walter Kaufmann (1950, 1951, 1953), Neil McKay (1954), Art Morrow (1951), Jean Papineau-Couture (1952), Godfrey Ridout (1951), John Weinzweig (1950), and Healey Willan (1952). The Grand Award winners were: Bernard Johnson, baritone, and Wilfred Reed, tenor (1947); Billy Meek, pop singer, Gratien Landry, tenor, Doreen Hume (Hulme), soprano, and Les Neal, pop singer (1948); Betty McCaskill and Marthe Létourneau, sopranos, and Kalle Ruusunen, baritone (1949); Marie-Germaine Leblanc, soprano, Charles Rush, baritone, and Joseph F. Rainer, tenor (1950); Fernand Martel, baritone, Morris Kronick (Maury Kaye), piano, and William Blaine Williams, baritone (1951); Angela Antonelli, Sylvia Grant, and Marguerite Lavergne, sopranos (1952); Roma Butler, soprano, David Brewster, piano, and Paul Norrback, accordion (1953); Lesia Zubrack (Romanoff), soprano, Janine Gingras, pop singer, and Anne McCahey, piano (1954); François Auffray, pop singer, Jeannette Franklin, pop singer, and Gordie Fleming, accordion (1955); and Ruth Watson Henderson, piano (1956).

Among the semi-finalists and runners-up who subsequently made careers in music were: Diane Abran, Herman Apple, Donald Bell, Napoléon Bisson, Pierre Boutet, Norman Brooks, Fernande Chiocchio, Corinne Conley, Edith Della Pergola, Ray Dudley, Esther Ghan, Maureen Forrester, Barbara Franklin, Donald Garrard, Robert Goulet, Sheila Henig, Irene Loosberg, Margo MacKinnon, Lois Marshall, Phyllis Marshall, Howard Mawson, Joan Maxwell, David Mills, Sylvia Murphy, Arlene Nimmons Pach, Joseph Pach, Frank Palmer, Louis Quilico, Jon Ringham, Joseph Rouleau, Irene Salemka, Steven Staryk, Andrée Thériault, Bernard Turgeon, and Victor White.