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Biography of Lillian Watts
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Wisconsin | No Comments
Miss Lillian Watts, the most prominent figure in musical circles in Racine and widely known in this connection elsewhere, is identified with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the Marquette Conservatory of Music, and is also director of music in the public schools of Racine. She is a native of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. and a daughter of Ebenezer and Eleanor (Jones) Watts, both of ‘whom were natives of Wales, and the father came of Scotch-Welsh parentage, in early manhood Ebenezer Watts came to the United States and in 1850 went to California, remaining upon the Pacific coast for five years, after which he returned to New York. He was married there to Miss Eleanor Jones, who had conic to the new world in 1849, and following their marriage they came to Wisconsin, making their way first to Racine and thence traveling by stage to Oshkosh, where the father engaged in the lumber business, continuing active along -that line until his death, which occurred in 1867. His widow long survived him and passed away in 1915, the remains of both being interred in the Oshkosh cemetery. Mr. Watts was a most public-spirited man, staunchly supporting many measures for the general good. He also possessed marked musical talent and became quite widely known as a composer.
His daughter, Miss Lillian Watts, was reared in Oshkosh and was accorded liberal educational opportunities. She completed her more specifically literary course in the State Normal and began her musical education there, being identified with the First Congregational Church choir at that place. She afterward attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, studying under the direction of George L. Osgood, Signor Rotoli and Louis C. Elson. She afterward continued her studies with Francis Fischer Powers and “Savage” and for a time was a musical student in New York City. She specialized in voice, public school music and choir conducting and became identified with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in 1905. She also entered into professional connection with the Marquette Conservatory of Music and is now identified with both institutions. At the same time she is the director of music in the public schools of Racine, in which connection her work consists in outlining and supervising. She has been made a member of the state committee to institute a new system of musical training in the schools.
Miss Watts was for five years connected with the Plymouth church in Milwaukee, for five years with the First Presbyterian church and for ten years with the First Methodist church of Racine and has always been active in choir work until within the past two years. Among her pupils have been many who have entered the profession and have won exceptional success. Not only has she thoroughly mastered the technical side of her art but possesses the faculty of interpretation, which lends originality and brilliancy to her work, and she also has wonderful power as an organizer, being thus splendidly qualified to develop the musical departments of different educational institutions. She holds membership in the Presbyterian church and has a very wide acquaintance among Racine’s best people.
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