James Sandau


Canadian Vaudeville – Past and Present

The subject of the research project would be the exploration of the genre of early 20th-century, Canadian vaudeville and light comic opera music. Though there have been efforts to promote more Canadian music in recent years, these are often limited to folk music or contemporary composition. Canadian vaudeville music is rarely heard or discussed, yet it has its own place in Canadian history and musicology, reflecting European, American and singularly Canadian influences.

My interest in the genre has stemmed from my 2017 musical celebrations of Canada’s 150th year, performing F.W. Mills’ Only a Daisy,” Leigh Hunt’s “If you become a nun, dear,” and N. Fraser Allan’s “The ‘Made In Canada’ Campaign Song.”

The aim of the research project would be to highlight Canadian vaudeville music and discuss its potential in performance and education today. With regards to education – to explore its significance and its resources for research. For performance – what repertoire is currently available, in what contexts would this music be appropriate for performance, and how would singers benefit from performing it? Canadian vaudeville holds treasures for today’s performers and audiences, with art and history and humour to share.