Thomson, W. Davidson
W. (William) Davidson Thomson. Baritone, choir conductor, teacher, b Perth, Scotland, 22 Jan 1886, d Winnipeg 3 Jun 1961. Emigrating to Canada in 1903 he worked as a hired hand in Oak Lake, Man, where he was remembered for his lusty open-air renditions of Scottish songs. He moved to Winnipeg in 1906, studying voice with Rhys Thomas and beginning a 38-year association with Knox United Church, first as a soloist, then as choirmaster. He was also choirmaster 1944-55 at Augustine United Church and was in demand as an oratorio soloist. He impressed as a 'natural' singer, but in fact had been coached by Reinald Werrenrath and Louis Graveure in New York and Albert Visetti in London. Thomson conducted the Great-West Life, United Scottish Society, and St Andrew's Society Male choirs in Winnipeg in the 1920s. In the summer of 1931 he directed the Winnipeg Tribune's 'Nights of Community Song,' six concerts in city parks, heard by over 100,000 people and featuring massed choirs and bands and such leading Winnipeg soloists as the soprano Gertrude Newton, the contralto May Lawson, and the pianist Joe Lyon. Thomson taught singing, and Jon Vickers was briefly among his pupils. Later (1955-7) he reviewed vocal and choral performances for the Winnipeg Free Press.
See also Stewart Thomson (his son).