Beverly Sills Index Page

Interview with Sills on the Major Bowes Capitol Family Hour November 19, 1939

MB. You sang a coloratura aria on my Amateur Hour three weeks ago.
Now Beverly, it's your turn to say something.

BS. Major Bowes, whenever you say anything it always makes me very happy.
And I was just thinking, when you gave your seventh anniversary program,I was just born.

MB. That's right. All the more do I believe what you said that night on the Amateur Hour,
that you were the only pupil in your school who has received nothing but A's on your report
card ever since you were six. How much voice training have you had?

BS. Two years Major Bowes. And I can sing 22 arias. I sing old songs too, like
"The Last Rose of summer." My singing teacher tells everyone but me that I have
an extraordinary voice for my age.

MB. Doesn't tell it to your face, huh?

BS. No, and I never let on to her that I know she said it.

MB. Well, thats another A. I bet she probably never know it now since we've had
this private confidential chat. Alright, let's hear how well you can
sing "Caro nome" (Dearest Name) from Verdi's "Rigoletto."

Sills sang "Caro Nome" with piano accompaniment on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour
October 26, 1939 and won that night's competition. Bowes was so impressed
(as well as all the listeners who wrote in) that Bowes had Sills on his Capitol Family Hour
three weeks later, where Sills sang "Caro Nome" to orchestral accompaniment.

The Family Hour was not a contest but a variety program that Bowes hosted on which he
invited various performers he liked (they did not automatically come from the Amateur Hour).

There are many newspaper clippings for the period listing Sills as singing for the first time
on the 17th anniversary program of the Family Hour in 1939, thus making her 10 years
old on her first Major Bowes appearances, not seven as she states in her autobiographies
and in the many interviews she gave in her career.