George William Pocaterra, 1882-1972, was born in Italy, the son of an aristocratic family. In 1903 he came to Canada and worked in Winnipeg, and as a cowboy on the Bar D Ranch near High River, Alberta before he established the Buffalo Head Ranch on the Highwood River in 1905. There he developed a close relationship with the Stoneys, and explored and mapped much of the Kananaskis area. In 1924 he turned the Buffalo Head into a successful dude ranch. When his father died in 1933 he sold the ranch and returned to Italy to settle family affairs. There, in 1934, he met Norma Piper, who was studying opera singing in Milan. Norma, 1898-1983, was born in Leamington, Ontario. Her family moved to Calgary in 1918 where her father, Dr.
W. A. Piper, practiced as a dentist. Norma made her Canadian debut as a coloratura soprano in 1930 and left for Italy in 1934 to further her musical career. George and Norma married in 1936, and George managed his wife's rising operatic career until it was cut short by Second World War. They returned to North America and in 1941 settled on the Ghost River. Norma became a voice instructor at Mount Royal College in 1942, and taught singing in Calgary until the 1970s. The Pocaterras moved to Calgary in
The first part of this oral history record consists of two speeches given by Mr. Giorgio Pocaterra to the Glenbow Historical Society and to the Calgary Kiwanis Club, spanning a period from 1904 to approximately 1940. They were recorded in
1963 and 1965.
The second part also consists of two sections. In the first, Mrs. Norma Pocaterra describes
the life of her husband, Giorgio, in the period between 1882
and 1950; in the second, the interviewer asks about her own
career in opera. The interview was conducted by Giancarlo Grelli
for the Dante Alighieri Oral History Project in 1973.
This oral history project was initiated by Sabatino
Roncucci, a founder of the Dante Alighieri Society, for the
purpose of documenting immigration history so that it
could be shared not only with the Italian community but also
the community at large.
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