Historic Bluefields

Donelson Baptists Enjoy Voice of Former Met Opera Singer

Due to the fact that New York City "is a poor place to raise a family," the congregation of the Donelson Baptist Church Sunday was treated for the second time to singing of Metropolitan Opera calibre.

The singer was P. R. Rauschenberger, Donelson's newest merchant, and his story is something a bit removed from the usual run of things.

While a young man, Rauschenberger began to study voice in Nashville. Professor C. W. Starr, then of Nashville and now of Philadelphia, was his first teacher. He then moved on to study under Oscar Siegel in New York and at the Los Angeles Conservatory.

Decide on Career

In time, the proprietor of the new Donelson Farm and Home Store decided upon singing as a career. He began picking up professional engagements with Jimmy Dorsey and Horace Heidt, top-ranking popular band leaders. He also found spots for his fine baritone on radio stations in Nashville, Los Angeles and New York City.

His big chance came in 1937 in the form of a position in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. Only the top talent is selected for the "Met." He worked with operatic "names" such as Helen Jepson, John Guerney, and Clifford Menz, and the future seemed bright. He sang in various operasin 1937-1938.

Didn't Like New York

"New York City just didn't seem to be the place to raise a family, however," he said, "and I decided to come back to Tennessee."

Rauschenberger, an Episcopalian by faith, now plans to limit his singing in the various churches of the area.

"Mrs. Rauschenberger is the best singer in the family, however," he said. "She has as fine a natural mezzo-soprano as I've ever heard."

Mrs. Rauschenberger is also filling singing engagements at churches in the area.

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