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Spencer, Marguerita (Rita) (1892-1993)

Marguerita Spencer, September 1977, at the age of 84, rehearsing for one of her two yearly concert recitals.
Glen Berger (Saskatchewan Archives Board) S-SP-A7669-1, Saskatoon StarPhoenix fonds

Born into the large musical McQuarrie family of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia on December 28, 1892, Spencer studied piano, organ and cello at Halifax Ladies’ College and at McGill University. She also studied nursing at the Toronto General Hospital. In 1922 she wed Roy Aubrey Spencer; they moved to Saskatoon, where he taught engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. During World War I she accompanied silent movies; she also played troop concerts then and during World War II. In Saskatoon, Spencer continued her studies under Helen Davies Sherry, Lyell Gustin, and others. She performed on a weekly CBC program and with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and headed the Saskatoon Women’s Musical Club and the Musical Arts Club. She also composed: of her nearly forty compositions, she is best known for Prairie Suite No. 1 and 24 Preludes; but many of them appeared on music festival programs and conservatory exams throughout Canada. Partly blind in old age, Spencer used a tape recorder and transcriber. She received the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal and recognition in international Music sources. Spencer died on May 5, 1993, in Saskatoon.

Ruth Wright Millar

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