Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, August 13, 2006, pg. 8

Here’s another previously unidentified name you can pencil in the text in my book, “Growing Up in Albion.” On page 46, bottom photo, Santa Claus is played by William Toussaint. He played Santa for several years in the late 1940s and early 1950s before the family moved away in 1955. William worked at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. Just to the right in the photo in back is his 12-year old son, Dennis Toussaint. Dennis telephoned yours truly this past week and was very excited to see this photo. Dennis owns numerous optical places across the state of Michigan and is headquartered out of downtown Kalamazoo with his Smeelink Acquisitions in the Comerica Building on S. Rose St. He has many happy memories of growing up partially in Albion.

Albion certainly has alot of talented people living here. Certain people in this town have very specialized skills and abilities which you probably don’t even know about. Years ago there used to be an annual talent show which uncovered the hidden talents of our youth and allowed them to perform before the community.

One such talent show occurred on Wednesday, May 24, 1950 in the packed Washington Gardner High School auditorium, where more than 40 local students participated in the program that evening. The event was sponsored by the Albion Recreation Department and the Parent-Teacher’s Association. Master of Ceremonies was Harry Williams, director of the Rec Dept.

There were two divisions: Those from 13 to 19 years old comprised the senior divisions, and those 12 and under were in the junior division. Each division had solo, and group performances. Most of the entries were singing vocalists. However, there were also drum majorettes (Sue McAuliffe and Catherine Gooden), pianists (Constance Lee, Edith Woods and Ruth Holland), dancers (Sue Matthews and Patricia Richards), a reader (Ronald Bennett), and a tonette player (George Gamble).

First and second place solo winners were presented trophies that were sponsored/supplied by the Albion Malleable Iron Company, and presented by company president Collins L. Carter. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the solo winners from this special event: Left to right, junior division second place winner Mary Jane Anderson; then first place winner Mary Jane Trimm. Next, senior division first place winner Ray Robinson, followed by second place winner Elizabeth Tomchak. How many of our readers remember these persons?

Should there be an annual community talent show held here in Albion again? Just a thought.

1950 Talent Show winners: Mary Jane Anderson, Mary Jane Trimm, Ray Robinson, Elizabeth Tomchak


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