4/25/14

LOUISE BIGELOW SCHNABEL plays the Greek


With this weeks theme at Sepia Saturday being about music I had to really think about what I had which might fit the bill. The Sepia image provided show people enjoying music probably a good forty to fifty years after my images.

These images come from an album purchased last year at the Betty Louis Schnabel estate. On May 12th of next month it will be one year since Betty passed. I never knew the woman, only one of many to pick over her things at an estate sale. Sometimes I do find myself feeling a bit like a vulture swooping in to purchase someone's memories, but I tell myself I'm giving them a good home.

Betty's mother was a musician. The only way I know this is from a line in Betty's obituary:
Betty's soul was music. An accomplished pianist, she added spark and life to many of her lodge gatherings as well as with family and friends. The love of music was encouraged by her mother, a professional musician, who joined her in many a piano duet.
These photos show, I believe, Betty's mother, Louise Bigelow Schnabel, performing at the Greek Theater at the University of California in Berkeley. Louise is the one at the piano playing the cello (Thanks to Mike at TempSenzaTempo). In the final shot she is the one in the middle of the three women. I'll admit I'm making a guess and feel the odds are in my favor because of how much her mother looked like Betty.


Click on image to see it larger.


Click on image to see it larger.


Click on image to see it larger.

I have no idea when these images were taken, but I'm guessing in the teens. Louise Bigelow Schnabel will now become part of known history.

15 comments:

  1. We al love our music, one way or another. Interesting that you write about a stranger. So sad to see a person's life being put up for salw.

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    1. I always figure, better for sale than in the trash, which is where a lot of old photos go.

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  2. Ah, Cal's Greek Theater. Been there a few times for football rallies & a few concerts - most notably, to see Neil Diamond, and what a show! Saw Ella Fitzgerald perform in the Cal gym once, too. Looking at the last picture, if that is Louise, it's interesting that she's the one who appears to be carrying the cello? It's kind of hard to tell.

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    1. It is hard to tell, but I think the neck of the instrument is actually in front of the shoulder of the woman in the front.

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  3. Wonderful photos! I've never seen a photo of musicians exiting the stage before. Betty's treasure could not have ended up in better hands. The stage looks huge for such a small group but reading about the UCA Greek theater, I think it must have the classic amphitheater acoustics which can transform a whisper into a very loud audible sound at the back of the stage.

    LaNightingail was right, Louise Bigelow Schnabel is the cellist of the group. I found this notice from the Berkeley Daily Gazette - Sep 26, 1929 that lists a concert for the Berkely Womens Club of a piano trio with Jean Wast Ward, pianist: Alice Thomas Morris, violinist; and Louise Bigelow Schnabel, cellist. So I date this concert from around the same late 1920s-1930s. I'll have to look for her in some of my other sources.She may have played for a California Women's Orchestra. Here is the link to the newspaper article hidden away in Google's news archives, sadly not maintained anymore.
    http://tinyurl.com/k929fjo

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    1. Thank you! Nice to have accurate information and not my rudimentary guesses.

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    2. I have never been to the Greek. I remember back in the '60s desperately wanting to go to a Simon and Garfunkel concert, but couldn't make it work.

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  4. The musicians look so tiny on the big stage!

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  5. Good for you snagging the photos. Otherwise they'd have ended up in the trash for sure.

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  6. The place must have been huge. I wonder how well one could hear things?

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  7. So nice that this woman's musical life ended up in your hands... and then to ours.
    Barbara

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    1. Thanks. I'm happy it wasn't all split up and sold at an antique store. Eventually I'm sure once out of my hands the albums will get torn apart and sold off in pieces. At least by posting some images online there will be some continuity available.

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  8. Absolutely, you're giving them not only a good home, but a new life! Since Betty was herself something of a performer, I'm sure she would be delighted to be remembered in this way, even if we aren't able to hear her music.

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    1. I'd like to hope so, though a neighbor of hers came to the estate sale and said she could be "difficult."

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