Bruce Holder

Holder, Bruce (Edward). Violinist, conductor, composer, b Saint John, NB, 8 Jan 1905, d Toronto 27 Aug 1987. His father, Fred Holder, was a trumpeter in local theatre orchestras. Bruce studied violin with Morton L. Harrison and William C.

Holder, Bruce

Holder, Bruce (Edward). Violinist, conductor, composer, b Saint John, NB, 8 Jan 1905, d Toronto 27 Aug 1987. His father, Fred Holder, was a trumpeter in local theatre orchestras. Bruce studied violin with Morton L. Harrison and William C. Bowden and began his career in 1919 as a theatre musician in Saint John. He later studied conducting with Pierre Monteux. He was concertmaster 1920-9 of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra (Saint John, NB); he also conducted a small concert orchestra at the Admiral Beatty Hotel for several years and led a dance band. In 1926 he began working in radio on a Moncton, NB, station, and for 15 years was music director and soloist for CRBC and CBC radio shows from Saint John, including 'Holiday for Strings' and 'Fanfare'.

Holder was a founder, and 1954-ca 1958 the conductor, of the Saint John Symphony Orchestra and also served 1962-8 as concertmaster of the New Brunswick SO. He joined the Charlottetown Festival orchestra in 1970 and in 1978 played for the festival's production of The Dumbells, having been a member, more than 50 years earlier, of a pit orchestra for the original Dumbells.

In a distinguished career which earned him the nickname 'Mr Music of Saint John,' Holder also served as director for 14 years of the Third Field Artillery Band (a position held in turn 1964-87 by his son Bruce E. Holder Jr, a trumpeter), and was music director 1956-71 at Saint John Vocational High School, and string instructor 1966-74 for the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra and, until his retirement in 1977, for the District 20 school board. In retirement he played with the Clearwater (Florida) SO during the winter seasons 1977-9, and remained a member of the Charlottetown Festival orchestra until the mid-1980s. Among Holder's compositions were several marches.