Master William Pickels of the Trinity Church, Pittsburg

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Every once in a while old Pa Pitt likes to introduce you to a back alley of Pittsburgh history known to few even of his most informed readers. Here is one of them. Few Pittsburghers are aware that Trinity Church (now Trinity Cathedral) produced a boy soprano whose talent made him a brief national sensation. We hear few boy sopranos these days, but in 1915 Master William Pickels made a few records for Victor, the most prestigious recording company, that show off his technical ability. A short notice in Pacific Coast Musical Review:

The first adequate records of a boy soprano are contributed by Master William Pickels, of Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, and two well known and popular airs are used for his Victor debut—Arditi’s “Love in Springtime” and “The Musetta Waltz” from Boheme. This young soprano is a most unusual singer. His voice lends itself admirably to reproduction, and the purity and freshness of his voice and its remarkable flexibility mark him as one of the best boy sopranos ever heard in America.

This record has been given the usual audio restoration for our sister site The Lateral Cut, which brings out a more natural bass and reduces the surface noise.

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