Louise Ferreira DeSilva, still remembered 50 years after her death – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Louise Ferreira DeSilva, still remembered 50 years after her death

Fifty years may have passed since Louise Ferreira DeSilva's death, but her family have not forgotten her.

This weekend her son, Arthur DeSilva, his wife Mi and their children and grandchildren, will hold a small memorial to remember her life.

Mrs DeSilva was a talented singer who performed with several well known orchestras in the United States.

She was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on March 2, 1918, the daughter of Manuel and Sarah Ferreira, both of whom had lived briefly in Bermuda as young children. Her early years were plagued with health issues, including eye and ear problems. Despite this a talent for music shone through. She became the darling of Fall River, a textile town in southern Massachusetts, thanks to her outstanding soprano voice that graced audiences of numerous local stage performances.

At a time when few women of Portuguese heritage went to university, she studied at the Eastman School of Music and The New England Conservatory. She honed her talents and cemented her reputation as she performed with The Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Philharmonic.

“Following the turbulent years of the Second World War and her brief first marriage my mother together with her infant son, Steven, travelled to Bermuda to visit family where she fell in love with both the Island and Arthur DeSilva Sr,” said her son Arthur Jr.

The two were married in 1952 and their son Arthur Jr followed the next year.

Finding the tranquility of Bermudian life inspiring, Mrs DeSilva shared her talents and enthusiasm with a number of local organisations, including The Bermuda Philharmonic Society, The Eastern Star, St Andrews Presbyterian Church (where she and her husband were married) and what was then known as the Portuguese Evangelical Church. She eventually became the director of both of these church choirs and integrated them to form The United Choir of Bermuda which produced two records: Sacred Gems and Be Thou Near.

She also began a nursery school called Happy Time Kindergarten a forerunner to the many pre-schools we know today. Happy Time enrollment was largely Bermudian but also included children of the many members of the armed forces that were stationed here during the 1950s and ‘60s.

Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. She spent her last months writing The Bermuda Onion, a children's narrative about the experiences of two young siblings vacationing with their grandparents in Bermuda.

“It was intended that this record would find a market with the many transient families as well as tourist,” said Mr DeSilva.

She died in 1963 leaving behind two sons ages 16 and 9.

“Her legacy survives,” said Mr DeSilva. “Her story and accomplishments live on as they are passed to the grandchildren and great grandchildren whom she was never privileged to know.”

He hopes to keep her memory alive by talking with his children and grandchildren about her.

“On Saturday, the family will gather at sunrise with a few readings andtwo violin solo,” said Mr DeSilva. “My nephew, David McCallum will be playing the violin. He will be playing Be Still My Soul and You Raise Me Up.”

Louise Ferreira DeSilva

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Published September 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm)

Louise Ferreira DeSilva, still remembered 50 years after her death

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