Meeting Grandparents Through Digital Audio

My grandparents, Fritz and Margaret Krueger, both died before I was born. I do wish I’d met them, because I’ve heard so many fantastical stories about them. They were professional musicians (I wrote a bit about my grandfather in the post about choir auditions: D’oh! Re, Mi, Fa…) and very well respected ones as far as I can tell. My grandfather later taught voice at West Chester University here in the Philadelphia suburbs.

I’ve included a headshot of each of them so you may be dazzled by the glamour of a 1940s headshot. I definitely got Fritz’s genetically tenacious nose and mouth, but I think I also lucked into a little bit of likeness to the lovely Margaret.

I actually, by random Google search, found an advertisement about my grandfather’s vocal performances on eBay last year and bought and framed it for my mom. I added a photo of that below, too.

The first quote from a critic on that ad is “Raised the roof.” (I didn’t know that saying was that old! But I digress.)

He toured the country to perform, and sang with the Philadelphia Opera Co. My grandmother was a pianist and organist for churches and other events I think, and the two of them also had a Philadelphia-area radio show in around 1943 called “Mr. and Mrs. Music.”

So cool.

Well, my mother has had recordings of both of my grandparents for decades that she hasn’t been able to play for lack of equipment. So, finally, my brother was able to get hold of something that would digitize the audio played from a record. And he spent quite a few hours transferring the audio and loading it online.

When he emailed the link to the family, I was getting in the car to run errands. I listened to the first song from my iPhone and just cried and cried like a baby. It was so amazing to hear the voice of a relative I’d never met. And the performances by my grandmother on the organ are very impressive. My mother says she remembers watching her play effortlessly, hands and feet flying.

I had heard a recording of a Mr. and Mrs. Music show once before, when I was much younger, but somehow it didn’t have the same gravity for me, maybe because I didn’t realize how special it was to be able to preserve those recordings. I am so happy about it! If you’d like to listen to any of the songs, feel free: Krueger Audio Files.


7 thoughts on “Meeting Grandparents Through Digital Audio”

  1. Wonderful post, Jen. Thanks again for sharing these recordings. They are such a special thing for your family, and also for the rest of us!

  2. Nice post. As you may know, I love family history and you mentioned things I wasn’t aware of. Your grandparents’ story, the photos and audio are all so cool. Thank you and thanks to your brother for digitizing them.

  3. Hi from “almost a relative.” I called your grandparents Aunt Margaret and Uncle Fritz. They were very much part of my growing up years. He sang at our wedding. Heaven! I was thrilled to read your blog and then to listen to the recordings after all these years. I have those same arias on old 78’s and have wanted to convert them for many years. My parents were medical missionaries in China at the same time your Granddad was there. I think he was 18. I have some wonderful pictures which I could email you if you like. Please say hello to Karen and Johnnie Fritz. I’d love to hear from you. Mary Elizabeth (Loudenslager) Hulleberg.

  4. I am a former West Chester University student of your grandfather in both undergraduate study for 1 year and then graduate study for 3 years. He was a wonderful musician and human being. His voice was incredible and his teaching was so accurate and artistic because he was a practitioner of the art. They were very special years at WCU and at The Wyomissing Institute of Art where my husband also studied with him. I heard him sing at WCU on a number of occasions in performance, and in lessons as well.His voice was so powerful, it almost shattered glass! Met one of his
    singing colleagues from Curtis Institute a few years ago who sent
    us a photo of him taken in Philadelphia with his teacher. He was a
    very important musical influence for me as well as Professor Lois Williams, both of whom encouraged me to achieve a great deal during those seven years. Never to be forgotten – he touched many lives! Susan

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