Bessie Bonsall

Bessie Bonsall. Contralto, b Ottawa 30 Aug 1870, d Paris, Ont, 15 Dec 1963. She studied with W. Elliott Haslam at the Toronto College of Music and at 18 was soloist at St James' Cathedral. After touring 1893-5 as assisting artist to the Belgian violinist Ovide Musin, she continued her studies in England with Charles Santley and was a member of the Savoy Theatre company under the direction of Gilbert and Sullivan. In 1898 she became a soloist at New York's Temple Emanu-El. Later she toured North America with Sousa's Band, the Banda Rossa, and the Redpath Grand Opera Concert Company. Her public appearances dwindled following her marriage in 1906. She is known to have made trial recordings at about the turn of the century, but these have not survived.