Old Photo Of Cadek Choral Society Rises From Colorado Home

  • Friday, May 11, 2018

An interesting photo of the Cadek Choral Society directed by J. Oscar Miller has risen from a Colorado home of a former Chattanoogan.

Dr. John E. Hill Jr., who grew up in Chattanooga and then went away to go to medical school, recently noticed in Chattanoogan.com a 1940 photo of the Chattanooga Civic Chorus.

He was very familiar with this group since his mother, Frances Hall Hill, was the pianist and was in the photo.

Dr. Hill remembered that he had a photo of the Cadek Choral Society - predecessor of the Chattanooga Civic Chorus - from 1931. He has since made it available for display on Sam Hall's  Chattanooga Deep Zoom site, which allows the viewer to click to get more and more detailed views of the picture.

The historic photo will then be donated to the local history department of the Chattanooga public Library.

When he grew up, Dr. Hill's family lived on Mississippi Avenue in North Chattanooga on what was then known as the Marsh farm.He attended Normal Park School, Northside Junior High and City High. Then he graduated from the University of Chattanooga.

After completing his medical studies in Memphis and internships in Denver, he became a cardiologist.

His father, J. Edwin Hill, was in the legal department with the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad.

His mother was a very talented pianist, who when she was 17 finished third in the National Young Artists Competition. She grew up in Nashville, but spent her last two years in high school at City High. She later studied under the Scottish-born composer, musician and music teacher James Friskin.

Frances Hall was on the staff at the Cadek Conservatory of Music in Chattanooga. It had been founded by Professor Joseph Cadek, a gifted violinist and music teacher from Bohemia.

She would be the pianist when stars of the Metropolitan Opera would come to the city each May for special concerts.

After her husband died in 1952, Frances Hill returned to her native Nashville. There she taught music and Lipscomb University and was the pianist for the Nashville Symphony.

Frances Hill spent her last years with her son at Monument, Colo. When she died at age 95, she was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in St. Elmo beside her husband.

Dr. Hill noted that the choral societies were very popular in the 30s and 40s, but the crowds grew much less after World War II when there were so many other entertainment options available. 

Persons Dr. Hill said he could identify in the photo include his mother, his father, conductor J. Oscar Miller, Harold Cadek and violinist John Casale. His mother is standing in the middle of the photo between two men. She is wearing a dark skirt.

The photo is on Chattanooga Deep Zoom at http://deepzoomchattanooga.com/cadek


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