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Hugh Bancroft: Biography

Hugh Bancroft
1904 - 1988
Region: Prairie

Hugh Bancroft

BANCROFT, (Henry) Hugh . Organist, choirmaster, composer, b Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England, 29 Feb 1904, d Edmonton 11 Sep 1988; FRCO 1925, B MUS (Durham) 1936, hon FRCCO 1976, D MUS (Cantuar) 1977, hon LL D (Alberta) 1980. He studied with E.P. Guthrie and J.S. Robson in Grimsby before moving in 1929 to Canada, where he served 1929-38 as organist-choirmaster at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Winnipeg. At All Saints Church, Winnipeg, 1938-46 he developed a boys' and men's choir of national renown which specialized in the singing of chants. After two years, 1946-8, as organist-choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, conductor of the *Vancouver Bach Choir, and instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Music and Drama, he was organist-choirmaster 1948-53 at St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. There he performed several times with the Sydney SO under Sir Eugene Goossens and was a founding member of the Australian College of Organists. He returned to All Saints Church in Winnipeg 1953-7, went briefly to Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau, then in 1958 became organist-choirmaster at All Saints Cathedral, Edmonton. He designed the *Casavant organ installed there in 1960. His recording Organ Music From All Saints (1970, ST-56722-23) features this instrument. He began teaching theory and organ at the *U of Alberta in 1968. In nearly 50 years of teaching, Bancroft's pupils included Barry Anderson, Douglas *Bodle, Harold *Brown, Elwyn Davies, Donald *Hadfield, Clayton Lee, Hugh *McLean, Barbara *Pentland, Herbert *Sadler, and Winnifred *Sim. Bancroft broadcast frequently 1938-67 for the CBC, notably on the series 'Organ and Strings' in 1961, and was one of four organists from western Canada to appear at *Expo 67, where he premiered Violet *Archer's Chorale Improvisation on 'O Worship the King.' His compositions, mostly published by *Western Music, *Waterloo, *Harris and Novello, include anthems, motets, carols, some organ music, and a Mass of St Thomas (Waterloo 1974). Perhaps the best known is the Easter Carol 'Good Christians Now Let All Rejoice' (Leslie 1948). In 1938 his Intermezzo and Marching Tune , both for strings, were premiered in Winnipeg by the Minneapolis SO under Dimitri Mitropoulos. Two other large works, Pavan (1958) and Concerto (1967) for organ and strings, remained unpublished in 1990. On 18 Apr 1977 Bancroft became one of the few Canadians and one of 10 living musicians to hold the Lambeth Degree (D MUS) conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bibliography Lee, Clayton. 'Dusty sneakers evoke memories for organist and "old boys",' Canadian Churchman , May 1980 'Hugh Bancroft,' special edn, Manitoba Choral Assn Journal :A Provincial Choral History , (1986) Author: (Jeffrey Anderson) from the Encyclopedia of Music In Canada


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