Rice, Gitz

Gitz (Ingraham) Rice. Songwriter, entertainer, pianist, b New Glasgow, NS, 5 Mar 1891, d New York 16 Oct 1947. He studied at the McGill Cons before joining the first division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of World War I. He fought in many major campaigns and played piano on occasion for the Princess Pat's Comedy Co (see Dumbells). Though he was invalided at Vimy Ridge in 1917 he stayed in the service as officer-in-charge (lieutenant) of musical entertainments for the army in Canada, supervising diversion for some 70,000 soldiers each week. He subsequently worked in vaudeville, staging his own revues, and again entertained the troops in World War II.

Rice's songs included 'Keep Your Head Down, Fritzie Boy' and 'We Stopped Them at the Marne' (published by Leo Feist,1918), 'On the Road that Leads Back Home' (Ricordi 1918), and 'Some Day I'll Come Back to You' and 'Burmah Moon' (Henry Burr 1919). 'Dear Old Pal of Mine' was his greatest hit. His purported role in the authorship of 'Mademoiselle from Armentieres' is unsubstantiated. Other Rice songs were published by Delmar in Montreal and Chappell and Ditson in the USA.

Rice's recordings of his 'Life in a Trench in Belgium' for Columbia and 'Fun in Flanders' for Victor, both made with Henry Burr, were popular. He also recorded as a singer for Victor and Pathé and in the late 1920s made piano rolls for Ampico. Roll Back the Years lists his recordings as well as many of the artists who recorded his songs.