May Lawson. Contralto, teacher, b West Calder, Scotland, 29 Mar 1901, d Winnipeg 28 Apr 1965. She arrived in Canada in 1914 with her parents and studied singing in Winnipeg with W. Davidson Thomson, Rhys Thomas, and Bernard Naylor and in Toronto with J. Campbell McInnes. She was coached by and studied repertoire with Frank St Leger in New York and with John Goss during the summer of 1943 at Gimli, Man, and the summer of 1948 on Galiano Island, BC.
Lawson was a soloist 1923-6 at St Luke's Anglican Church and 1926-46 at Knox United Church in Winnipeg. Concurrently she appeared often as a soloist in oratorio with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and sang in Winnipeg Light Opera Company productions (The Chocolate Soldier, 1934, The Red Mill, 1935, etc). She gave recitals with the pianist Marjorie Dillabough Wrightson, and was heard frequently on CBC radio with John Avison or Gordon Kushner. She was a soloist-member of the Choristers in the late 1930s and the 1940s. Her wide-ranging recital repertoire included Scottish traditional songs, which she sang with sensitivity and affection. She retired from public performance in the late 1940s.
Lawson taught privately throughout her career and 1958-65 at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg. Among her many pupils were Orville Derraugh, David Falk, Robert Jeffrey, Corinne Kirby, Heather Lindsay, Jean McBride, Elaine Oakley, Noella Poulain, Carol Robson, William Thiessen, and Peggie Anne Truscott. Her research and correspondence with her brother, the medical doctor and baritone recitalist James Terry Lawson of New Westminster, BC, led to the latter's Full-throated Ease: A Concise Guide to Easy Singing (Vancouver 1955), a book which came into wide use in the USA and Europe.