Blair, Frederick H.
Frederick H. (Harold) Blair. Organist-choirmaster, pianist, teacher, b Chatham, NB, 10 Jan 1874, d at sea, near the Hebrides, 3 Sep 1939. As a youth he held church organ positions while studying piano and organ with A.W.S. Smythe in Chatham and Thomas Morley in Saint John, NB. In 1897 he began studies at the RCM with Sir Walter Parratt. He returned to Canada and was a church organist in Moncton and Fredericton before serving as organist-choirmaster 1900-39 at the Church of St Andrew and St Paul in Montreal. Blair was an original staff member 1904-13 of the McGill Cons, teaching piano, organ, and accompaniment,. In 1913 he was appointed director of the Canadian Academy of Music in Montreal. He was briefly (1908) the conductor of the Montreal Oratorio Society, and piano accompanist to such noted artists as Edmund Burke and Lucien Martin,. He served as president of the English section of the Casavant Society in Montreal. Thomas Archer wrote in The Gazette (23 Sep 1950): 'Due to Blair's initiative... Montreal had already become a centre for organ music in North America. But with his death in 1939 the position deteriorated'. Blair drowned when the ship Athenia, on which he was a passenger, was torpedoed by a German submarine.