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May 12, 1989 - Image 61

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-05-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

IF

or more than 25
now,
years
Margelee Greene-
Ruby has been en-
tertaining Detroit-
area audiences. You may have
heard the soprano singing
with the Bel Canto Choral
Society, the Shaarey Zedek
Choir and at concerts around
town for Jewish organiza-
tions. Or you may have seen
her in Michigan Opera
Theater productions like
Carmen, La Boheme, and
many others.
Earlier, she entertained au-
diences in her native Chicago
— at the Lyric Opera Com-
pany there, or as part of the
Ernie McLean Quintet, per-
forming at night spots in the
Windy City. As a teenager,
she sang at lakeside summer
concerts sponsored by the
Chicago Tribune. A photo in
one of her scrapbooks shows
the perky redhead as she
guested on the popular
"Welcome Traveler" radio
show (broadcast out of
Chicago in the 1940s), along
with film star, John Garfield.
The oldest of six children,
her interest in music surfac-
ed early, says the "60-ish"
grandmother of two.
"When I was growing up,
my mother saw to it that we
all had piano lessons. The
piano teacher would come to
our house and give all six of
us the lessons, starting with
me, the oldest, and finishing
up with the youngest."
She started school a year
early, skipped "a grade or
two," and ended up
graduating from a Chicago
high school when she was
only 15.
Set apart from her
classmates because of her
young age, Ruby says she put
all of her energies into study-
ing as she was growing up —
especially the study of music
— and aspired, always, to
becoming a singer.
"When I was very, very
young, I used to listen to all
the Metropolitan Opera pro-
ductions on radio. Patrice
Munsel was a favorite. I knew
she was only 16 when she was
accepted into the Metropoli-
tan, and I thought myself,
`there's hope for me.'
"In high school, my choral
teacher took a liking to me,"
says Ruby who comes from a
family that includes a large
number of cantors. "That's
how I got to know that I had
singing talent. But I had
always loved music. When I
was in high school, I also
played the baritone horn in
the concert band, and the
trombone in the school or-
chestra. At our graduation
ceremonies, I conducted the
orchestra." (Today, Ruby plays

,

----11111111 11. 1

In her native Chicago, Ruby sang in operatic productions.

A
Musical
Gem

Margelee Green-Ruby has
enjoyed singing and playing
music since her youth.

VICTORIA BELYEU DIAZ

Special to The Jewish News

"just about everything but
the strings.")
Having been awarded a
scholarship, the aspiring col-
oratura entered Chicago
Musical College and
Roosevelt University
Workshop when she was bare-
ly 16, and studied voice with
Nellie Gardini, director of the
voice department there.
Before she was 18, the
energetic performer, in addi-
tion to her studies, was
holding down a full-time job
as a file clerk in a U.S. govern-
ment war bonds office in
Chicago.
After marriage at 18, she
dropped out of school, but con-
tinued private voice lessons,
and also performed part-time
in the Chicago area, once giv-
ing a concert only a few days
before the birth of her second
child. (Her accompanist at
that concert was Cantor
Sholem Kalib, now a professor
of music at Eastern Michigan
University.)
"I can remember often tak-
ing the babies downtown with
me, putting them on a couple
of blankets, and taking my
lesson while they slept," she.
says. "I used to take them
with me when I was doing
some photographic modeling
downtown, too. They got ac-
customed to sitting on the
sidelines while I worked."
The family's move to
Detroit during the 1960s was
an adjustment she found
rather difficult to make.
"I had no family here," she
says, recalling the move. "In
fact, I didn't know anybody
here. I felt very depressed. To
get out of the depression I felt,
I went back to my music. Lit-
tle by little, I got involved —
with the choir at Shaarey
Zedek, which I still sing with;
with the Bel Canto Choral
Society, which I'm also still
involved with; and with the
Michigan Opera Theater."
Her debut with the MOT in
La Traviata was followed by
supporting roles in Boris
Godunov, La Boheme, The
Pearl Fishers, Regina,
Carmen, The Student Prince
and Show Boat, with such
stars as Jerome Hines, Bren-
da Booser and Andreas
Poulimenos. (Ruby, who is
5'2", remembers once having
to climb onto a high chair in
order to kiss the towering
Hines good-bye at the com-
pany's farewell party after
the close of Boris Godunov in
1974.)
Always interested in all
aspects of theater, she's even
tried her hand as make-up ar-
tist during the run of Bizet's
The Pearl Fishers, lerarning
the techniques pretty much
on-the-spot, before and during
each performance, and bet-

.

'

I GOING PLACES I

WEEK OF
MAY 12-18

SPECIAL EVENTS

NEW DETROIT
One Kennedy Square,
"Ages of Apparel,"
fashion and food of
many nations, today,
free, 496-2000.
DETROIT
INSTITUTE OF
ARTS
5200 Woodward, "Kin
Arthur's Birthday
Party," today,
admission, 833-796

- •



ey, KevArti
2593
Berkley,
today

hough
May
tW
arY
mission, 5421090

205 W. Long Lake,
ty, The Dining Room,
Troy,
*tod ay
S*11:42* 3 p
.4

HARRISON 14*--7
SCHOOL
29995 W. :gwelve Mile
Rd., Bye Bye Birdie,
7:30 p.m,- Thursday an

May 19kadmissibn
477-331A. -

THE
PERFORMANCE
NETWORK
458 N. Crooks,
Cl4wson, West End
Pektuctions,
EAC'emities, 8 p.m.
Thursday through May
27, 2 p.m. May 28,
admission, 435-7859.
BILBERRY
THEATRE
Wayne State
University, Detroit, The
Night Thoreau Spent In
Jail, 8 p.m. Saturday;
Working, Monday
through May 20; Romeo
and Juliet, 11 a.m.
Wednesday, admission,
577-2972.
PONTIAC THEATRE
IV
Pontiac Northern High
School, 1051 Arlene,
Pontiac, Baby, 8 p.m.
today and Saturday and
May 19 and May 20,
admission, 338-2903.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

61

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