Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sylvia Hamilton Screens Portia White: Think On Me at the Government House on April 23, 2019.

75 years ago, in 1944, Portia White became the first Canadian to debut at New York’s famed Town Hall, and the first Black Canadian concert singer to win international acclaim, widely known as Canada’s Singing Sensation. 

To commemorate, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, ONS, QC will be hosting a public screening of Sylvia D. Hamilton's documentary:

Portia White: Think On Me.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Government House, 
1451 Barrington Street, Halifax. 

Free & open to the public.

Call 902-424-7001 

The film uncovers the unique life of Portia White who achieved unparalleled international success during the tumultuous 1940's. The documentary uses archival film and TV footage, excerpts from recordings, and interviews with family, pupils and her accompanists to portray a talented and dignified woman.

Born in Truro, Nova Scotia in 1911 and raised in Halifax, Portia White began her singing career at age six at the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church (now the New Horizons Baptist Church) where her father was minister. She attended Dalhousie University in 1929 and in the 1930s she taught in Africville and Lucasville while also taking voice lessons. It was apparent from an early age that she had extraordinary musical talent and in 1939 she won a scholarship to continue her training at the Halifax Conservatory of Music. Portia White made her singing debut at age 30 in Toronto.

The Portia White Trust, which became the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, was established to help foster her career; it was the first of its kind in Canada. A Canadian postage stamp was issued in her honour and she was named “a person of national historic interest” by the Government of Canada.

Sylvia D. Hamilton is a Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer and artist whose work explores the lives and experiences of people of African descent. Her special focus is on African Nova Scotians, and especially women. In particular, her work takes the form of documentary films, writing, public presentations, teaching, mentoring, extensive volunteer work and community involvement. She has uncovered stories of struggles and contributions of African Canadians and introduced them to mainstream audiences.

As seating is limited to 90, people wishing to attend must register by calling 902-424-7001 or by registering online.

Blog content summarized from the official events notice.

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