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Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Pendrigh Watson (1915-1998)

Musician.

Born at Winnipeg on 12 September 1915, son of P. L. Watson and Margaret Pendrigh, he attended Lord Roberts School and Kelvin High School. After studying music under F. D. Bull and Gwendda Owen-Davies of Winnipeg, he received a scholarship with Herbert Howells at the Royal College of Music. During the Second World War, he was employed as a pianist by the London County Council and the BBC, as well as touring to entertain soldiers. He was a prominent accompanist in England until returning to Canada in 1952, and he accompanied Gracie Fields on her Canadian tour in 1953. He taught music at Portage la Prairie schools from 1952 to 1975, and composed a good deal of music, some of which is still used as test pieces by music festivals. His entry for a centennial song, written in collaboration with Anne Collier, won first prize in Manitoba and he was awarded a Manitoba Centennial Award for it. He twice served as organist and choir leader at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Portage la Prairie, the last time from 1975 to 1995. He died at Brandon on 26 November 1998.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 1998, page 38.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Keith Jones for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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