Tapscott, Carl

Carl (Harry) Tapscott. Choir conductor, tenor, arranger, organist, b Toronto 14 May 1910, d Lindsay, Ont, 17 Nov 1993; ARCT 1948. A pupil of Albert Whitehead (voice) and S. Drummond Wolff (organ), Tapscott began his career in the late 1920s as a tenor soloist on the Toronto radio stations CFCA, CKGW, and CKNC, and sang for 22 years on CFRB. He also served as organist-choirmaster in various Toronto churches. During World War II Tapscott was choral director for the RCN's Meet the Navy and conducted its Sea Shanty Choir, from which the Commodores (or Commodores Quartette) were formed in 1943. As part of Meet the Navy, the group - Harvard Reddick (lead tenor), Tapscott (second tenor and arranger), John Ringham (baritone), and Donald Parrish (bass) - gave a royal command performance in England and toured in Europe.

After the war the Commodores performed throughout Canada, on CBC radio, and at the CNE, and recorded a few folksongs, spirituals, and sea-shanties for Gavotte. In 1954, with the Four Gentlemen (see William Morton), the Commodores formed the nucleus of the Carl Tapscott Singers, a 12-man Toronto choir which gave popular CBC broadcasts until 1967 and by 1975 had made nine LPs for Hallmark, Columbia, RCA (BMG, eg, Songs of Newfoundland, KXL1-0092), the CBC LM series, Capitol (eg, Songs for a Family Christmas, CBC LM-54/Cap SN-6297), and CTL. With the addition of eight female voices they became the Carl Tapscott Choir, which recorded Great Hyms of All Time (Col FL-285) and performed in 1968 on CBC radio's 'Songs of Faith.' Some of Tapscott's many choral arrangements were published by BMI Canada, G.V. Thompson, Waterloo, and Frederick Harris. In 1998 Berandol published several of his arrangements of folksongs such as 'Il était une bergère.' His arrangement of 'I'se the b'y that builds the boat' has been performed by groups such as the Kanata Children's Chorus.