Lake County Ohio GenWeb
As published in the Alumni Record, Painesville High School, Painesville, Ohio
Compiled and Published by the Painesville High School Alumni Association in 1925
Transcribed by Linda Jeffery, November 2004.
Prominent among the native-born citizens of Painesville who have won honor and distinction, is Harry Clyde Brooks, who met with unqualified success as an instructor in voice culture and artistic singing. His voice was a flexible tenor of the most brilliant and sympathetic quality, fresh and clear.
Mr. Brooks was born February 15, 1859, in Painesville, Ohio, a son of the late John Franklin Brooks, coming from honored New England ancestry, who trace their descent through various branches of the family from the Pilgrim fathers who came over in the Mayflower.
Harry C. Brooks received his early education in the public schools of Painesville graduating from the high school with the class of 1877. He entered Oberlin College and in 1881 was graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he was trained in piano, theory and voice. Going to Galesburg, Illinois, in 1882, he filled the position of musical director at Knox College for a year, when he resigned in order to continue his studies abroad. Going to Milan, Italy, in 1883, Mr. Brooks was for two years under the private tutorship of Signor Antonio Sangiovanni, of the Royal Conservatory, with him studying the tenor roles of twenty-five operas, besides various songs and arias. At the same time he studied dramatic action and took lessons in the Italian and French languages. In 1885, after taking part in an artists’ recital at the Royal Conservatory, he returned to Oberlin, Ohio and the following three years was a teacher in the Conservatory of Music in that city. Wishing to still further perfect himself in his art, Mr. Brooks went, in 1888, to Berlin, Germany, where for several months he made a special study of German songs and arias. On his return to America he assumed the charge of the Bach Society of the Woodland Avenue Presbyterian Church Cleveland, Ohio, in 1890, giving concerts and pupils’ recitals in that city for three years.
In 1898 he became head of the music department of Lake Erie College in Painesville. In this capacity Mr. Brooks met with notable success, serving the college twelve years.
He achieved some reputation as a soloist, having taken the principal part many times in “Elijah,” the “Messiah,” Gounod’s “Messe Solennelle To Saint Cecilia,” and other works of like character.
Mr. Brooks was an extensive traveler and thus kept himself in close touch with the most advanced methods used in teaching the various branches of music, frequently visiting Boston, New York and other musical centers of our own country, as well as attending concerts and operas during his trips through England, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.
Mr. Brooks wrote and published music for use in his own work, and compiled works on theory and harmony for his classes. He was very successful as a director of church choirs and vocal clubs.
In 1905 Mr. Brooks began a tour of two years around the world, traveling extensively throughout nearly all the great civilized countries. Upon returning to the United States he again took up his residence in Painesville, Ohio.
His home studio was located on Mentor Avenue in Painesville, but he had studios in Cleveland and other cities and for many years had charge of the music in Epworth Memorial Church in Cleveland and the Methodist Church in Painesville. He conducted vocal societies and choirs in many Ohio cities including Elyria, Norwalk, Chardon and Ashtabula.
On August 3, 1921 Mr. Brooks died at the Lake County Hospital, following an operation from which he never rallied. He had been in ill health for several months. Funeral services were held from the home of Mrs. C.C. Viall, a cousin, and burial was made in Evergreen Cemetery.
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Last updated 11 Nov 2004
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