Sadie Bevan Christensen with her husband Lyde and her sister Alice, 1920s.
Grandpa Christensen's Voice!
My mom's father Harold (Lyde) Christensen had dinner with my folks on 11 June 1946 and was offered the chance to record his voice on my mom's new-fangled record maker. In those days it was very unusual for common people to have such a machine as this, but my mom graduated from college with a degree in music, so this was one of her most treasured possessions. Though he was by trade a bricklayer (click here), Grandpa was no stranger to show business. He had performed with his father as a child in the 1890s as part of a vaudeville group in Brigham City, Utah (click here). A record was similar to a compact disk, but much larger. Sound was recorded by cutting a groove in the surface of the record and populating it with tiny bumps corresponding to vibrations of a membrane in the microphone. The sound could later be heard by sliding a needle through the grooves and amplifying the sound. The popping noise you will hear happens when the groove is interrupted by a scratch. Some of you will remember phonograph records. This one is different because it plays at 78 RPM and the groove spirals outward from the center of the record, rather than inward. If you're curious as to what the disk looked like, click here. Needles to say, there was a lot more technical wizardry involved in the process of cutting the record than was required of a machine that simply followed the groove and played it.
My sister Anne has the record, and found a machine capable of playing it at a thrift store, then sent me the following files to be shared with the family on this page.
So here he is, Grandpa Lyde, age 54 singing and then delivering a message to his grandson Billy Strebel, whose third birthday was to be 3 days later, on the 14th. After discussing the difficulties of performing with a microphone he then sent an unscripted greeting to his other existing grandchildren, and it was preserved long enough that more than 70 years later, their grandchildren can now hear him as well.
As you listen, you're invited to sing along.
Click a link below to begin listening.
Click here to listen to Rose and Wanda singing. Click here to listen to Rose and Wanda talking. Click here and here to learn more about Lyde Christensen. Click here to return to the H.E. Christensen Family website.