July 7 – Happy Birthday Olive Kline

Olive_Kline_in_1917_at_her_homeOlive Kline was one of the top radio and recording stars in America for a quarter of a century, from 1912 to the late 1930’s. She was born in Amsterdam on July 7, 1887 to Martha and Oliver Kline. Both her parents were musical and loved to sing. In fact, according to a concert program I found online, many generations of Ms. Kline’s family were singers, some of them rather well-known. Another interesting note about her ancestors was that if you traced her bloodline far enough back, it ran smack into Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation.

So perhaps it is fitting that Ms. Kline’s road to singing stardom began when she was just a teenager and was called upon to substitute in the choir of her Protestant Church one Sunday for another member who had fallen ill. By then, her family had moved to Schenectady (in 1897) because her father had taken a job with General Electric Co. If you’ve ever been a regular attendant at any church, you know the reaction when a new voice is heard singing from the choir loft. Everyone turns their heads to see who is making such a difference. Well on that particular Sunday in the Kline family’s Schenectady Church, Kline’s amazing soprano must have turned quite a few heads because just a couple weeks later, she was the featured voice in that choir.

From there her singing career was put on a fast train to Manhattan, where she became a paid soloist at several mainline Manhattan houses of worship and was eventually asked to make a trial record for Victor Talking Machine Company, which would evolve into the Victor Records Company. That was 1912 and that recording was so well received she was signed to a record deal and by 1914 she was a featured star on national tours sponsored by Victor.

Though her specialty was opera, Kline performed a wide range of music including…

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(This Amsterdam sports legend was also born on July 7.)

My complete birthday post for Olive Kline will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty  people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.

The monthly newsletter is free. If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list.

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