August 17, 1905
Avon Saxon, the renowned Anglo-American baritone, arrived in this city last night. In conversation with the Sun during the evening Mr. Saxon spoke of many matters that will doubtless be of unusual interest to a large number of people in the maritime provinces. Not that Mr. Saxon is strange to the music lovers of the provinces, for the names of few artists have been before the public more constantly during recent years than his. Born near the little town of Windsor, on the river Avon, he was reared on his fathers farm and well remembers the countless times he has driven the cows to and from their pasture on the hillside. His people now live at Berwick, and it is to that village Mr. Saxon will wend his way today, crossing the bay on the Prince Rupert this morning. He has just finished a pleasant two weeks visit with friends at Snows Falls, Me.
"It is seven years," said he, "since I was in St. John, and during that time I have seen much of the world."
Mr. Saxon was late principal baritone of the Shewin Opera Co., Australia Royal English, Carl Rosa, and DOyly Carte Opera companies, London, and the Royal Albert, Crystal Palace, Queens Hall and St. James; Hall.
Early in 1899 he went to South Africa, where he journeyed to Johannesburg in a coach wagon, the railway stopping at Kronstadt, and for some days he and his party lived on dried buck beef, called by the Dutch biltong.
"We were roughing it some in those days," said Mr. Saxon. He was away from South Africa for a time, but returned in 1892. In all he made five tours of South Africa and was at Johannesburg at the time of the Jameson Raid. "We thought we were gone that time," he observed.
About the middle of the war he visited Johannesburg and Pretoria, and in 1901 went to Australia, where he sang before the Duke and Duchess of York in Sydney. The famous Mdme. Belle Cole was then the leading contralto of Mr. Saxons company. After another brief tour in South Africa he returned to London. Mr. Saxon was the founder of the famous "Meister Glee Singers," who visited this city last autumn, and for the first two and a half years of their existence he sang with them. He then sold out and created the part of "Friar Tuck," in the opera of Robin Hood. After spending a short vacation at his home, Mr. Saxon will return to Boston, where in September he opens a sixteen weeks engagement with Keiths, probably making a tour of the principal cities of the United States.
One of the things Mr. Saxon holds most dear is a personal letter from the late William Beatty Kingston, the renowned musical critic of the London daily Telegraph, in which that critic describes with feeling the pleasure he derived from listening to a singer so talented.
"I wish you could have heard Mr. Kingston play the piano," said Mr. Saxon. "My! How he could play,"
"Mr. Saxon was named after the river Avon, and he sometimes points out to his friends that fact that spelled backwards his name is Nova. He thinks he has every reason to feel proud of his native province," St. John Sun, July 28th.