Harold Ramsay

Harold (Arthur) Ramsay. Organist, choirmaster, composer, teacher, b Yarmouth, England, Aug 1901, d Salmon Arm, near Kamloops, BC, 29 Jan 1976; L MUS (McGill) 1919, honorary FTCL 1952.

Ramsay, Harold

Harold (Arthur) Ramsay. Organist, choirmaster, composer, teacher, b Yarmouth, England, Aug 1901, d Salmon Arm, near Kamloops, BC, 29 Jan 1976; L MUS (McGill) 1919, honorary FTCL 1952. He moved to Calgary at 10, studying music at Mount Royal College and becoming organist of Hillhurst United Church at 13 and of Knox United Church at 15. After training with Lynnwood Farnam in New York in the early 1920s he was a vocal coach for Paramount Studios in New York and Hollywood and organist at Broadway's Rivoli Theater. He moved in 1932 to England, where he became a leading theatre organist, performing on some 1000 BBC broadcasts, appearing weekly at London's Granada Theatre, and touring with his Rhythm SO, Eight-Piano SO, and the revue Radio Rodeo. His signature tune was the theme from Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. In 1950 he returned to Calgary, where he was organist-choirmaster 1950-71 at Wesley United Church, founder (1952) of the Calgary Choral Society, and director (1951-62) and teacher of voice and organ at Mount Royal College Cons. He retired to Salmon Arm, BC, in 1971, but continued to teach and compose. His songs were published by Boosey & Hawkes, Chappell, and others. His 'Britain, Remember!' (Ascherberg 1941) became a Royal Air Force theme during World War II, and Rodeo March (Boosey & Hawkes) was adopted as the theme song of the Calgary Stampede.