LE CLUB CANADIEN DE ROME
Non-CCR EventsIn memoriam: A historic member of the Canadian Women’s Association of Rome.
Constance Channon-Douglass. Pianist, Teacher, b Calgary 20 Dec 1937; d Rome November 14, 2014.
A long-time resident of Rome, Connie passed away on November 14th after a lengthy illness. She was predeceased by her husband of thirty three years Cesare Marinsanti (2004). She is survived by her sons James Channon (Jane DeGama), Ross Douglass (Caterina), grandchildren Scott and Matthew Douglass, and her brother Roger Channon.
Connie was a child prodigy at the piano, showing a natural talent at the age of three. During her youth, she won numerous local competitions in and around her home town of Calgary, Alberta and throughout Canada. In 1955, Connie was a contestant in a CBC television program called “Pick the Stars,” a fifties precursor to American Idol. As part of her selection, her family proudly accompanied her to Toronto where she performed live on national television at the age of 18. Her first music teacher was her mother Lily who recognised her abilities, followed by one of Calgary’s most acclaimed piano teachers, Gladys Egbert. After her studies with Mrs. Egbert, Connie went on to achieve the ARCT 1956 diplomas, and toured with Jeunesses Musicales of Canada in 1959. Connie attended the Juilliard School of Music in New York City from 1960-64 for training with Irwin Freundlich. In 1964, she won first prize in the CBC Talent Festival.
Connie made her New York debut in 1965 at Town Hall, followed by an opportunity to study in Rome with Guido Agosti. Travelling to study with the Maestro on a six month scholarship, it was her intention to return to North America to pursue her musical career until she met the love of her life, Cesare. With the exception of a three-year assignment for Cesare with Alitalia Airlines in Amman Jordan, she remained a resident of Rome until her passing.
Connie made solo appearances with the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, CBC Winnipeg, Toronto Orchestras, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich. She performed frequently on CBC radio’s ‘Distinguished Artists’ and recorded works by Mozart, Prokofiev, Scriabin, and Schumann (1969, CBC SM 109). As well as her solo performances throughout the world, she also pursued teaching and accompanying other artists. She adjudicated many piano competitions, and in the 1990s and 2000s continued to give masterclasses and concerts as far afield as Australia and San Diego. In 2005, she gave a concert in Rome sponsored by the Canadian embassy.
Not only was Connie an accomplished musician, she was extremely artistic. She was an accomplished seamstress and clothing and quilt designer. Her patchwork velvet vests, cushions and quilts were in demand and cherished by all who received them. Connie and Cesare made friends throughout the world, and a party was much more fun when they were there.
In recent years her piano fell silent, as her health deteriorated. Although we are saddened by her loss, her family is glad her suffering has ended. In memory of her, tributes may be made to the charities of your choice.
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