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H. Evan Williams (1867 September 7, Mineral Ridge, Ohio – 1918 May 24, Akron, Ohio) was an oratorio tenor.

After working for several years as a coal miner, he began rising to prominence as a singer when he participated in a Welsh choir in Galion, Ohio, in 1891. By 1894 he was onstage in London and began dividing his career between appearances in the United Kingdom and in the United States. In 1896 he gave his first performance at the Worcester Music Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1907 he returned permanently to the United States, where he continued to sing as a tenor soloist for various choral societies.[1]

Williams was one of the mainstays of the Orpheus Club of Springfield, Massachusetts, from the 1890s until his death in 1918.[2]

According to his obituary in the New York Times, Williams was fondly remembered for his singing of "Tim Rooney's at the Fighting" to audiences of soldiers during World War I.[3] H. Evan Williams is buried in Ohio's East Akron Cemetery.[4]

Williams' voice was recorded on a number of Victrola records[5] and he was reported to be the company's highest seller after Enrico Caruso and John McCormack. For two publicly available (pre-1923) recordings of his singing, click "Just a-Wearyin' for You" and "A Perfect Day"—both composed by Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1946).[6]

Notes

  1. ^ "Evan Williams dies: Famous oratorio tenor was a coal miner in his youth" in New York Times, 1918 May 25 (retrieved 2009 August 05).
  2. ^ Orpheus Club 1873 1923 Fiftieth Anniversary. He died from blood poisoning, the result of an infected boil.
  3. ^ "Evan Williams dies: Famous oratorio tenor was a coal miner in his youth" in New York Times, 1918 May 25 (retrieved 2009 August 05).
  4. ^ Historical obituary article on Williams in the Akron Beacon Journal, 2007 May 14.
  5. ^ Buy Vinyls site. See also the Cheyne Records site.
  6. ^ Evan Williams' recording of "A Perfect Day" became his most widely selling and reciprocally helped to popularize that parlor song composed by Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
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