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Finlay in 1949
October 5, 1928
|Died||June 1, 2003 (aged 74)|
|Alma mater||Lindenwood College|
|Occupation||Opera singer, television personality|
Marjorie Moehlenkamp Finlay (October 5, 1928 – June 1, 2003) was an American opera singer and television personality. A coloratura soprano, she performed concert, opera, and supper club singing. After winning a talent contest in 1950, Finlay toured on the ABC radio network show Music With the Girls. She later had her own television program and served as an MC for El Show Pan-Americano in Puerto Rico. Finlay toured in South America and released an album in Mexico.
Early life and education
Marjorie Moehlenkamp was born on October 5, 1928, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Elmer Henry Moehlenkamp of St. Charles, Missouri, and Cora Lee Morrow of Arkansas. She was raised in St. Charles. Three of her paternal great-grandparents were from Germany.
During high school, Moehlenkamp trained under Pearl Walker, a music professor at Lindenwood College. In 1948, Moehlenkamp performed at Mexico Senior High School as a soloist in the Lindenwood Vesper Choir. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Lindenwood College in 1949. Moehlenkamp was in Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity. She was a singer in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's pop concert at Kiel Auditorium. In 1953, Moehlenkamp returned to Lindenwood to perform a concert.
In 1950, Moehlenkamp was working as a receptionist at Boatmen's National Bank in St. Louis. She won a talent contest on the ABC network show Music With the Girls. This awarded her a radio spot and she toured on the network radio show for 15 months. During the summer of 1951, Moehlenkamp studied at the Berkshire Music Center and then in New York City on the advice of musician Edwin McArthur.
After her marriage, Finlay and her husband moved to Havana, Cuba, where his office was located before relocating to Puerto Rico due to political unrest. They moved to Caracas before returning to Santurce with their children. In Puerto Rico, Finlay had her own television program and performed in concerts, operas, and supper clubs, including a two-week stint at the Caribe Hilton Hotel.
Finlay was the mistress of ceremonies for El Show Pan-Americano on APA-TV in Santurce. The show's format was similar to Tonight Starring Jack Paar, leading to Finlay being called the "Parr of Puerto Rico". She was active in the Pro Arte Societies, a civic music organization. Her Spanish was reportedly "bad" enough to be funny to her audiences. Her television show ran six nights a week for 17 months.
Awards and honors
|1949||$200 scholarship (equivalent to $2,149 in 2019)||National music contest hosted by the magazine Music News and the Metropolitan School of Music in Chicago|||
|1950||Talent contest on the ABC network show Music With the Girls||Winner|||
|1961||Outstanding graduate with a certificate of merit||Given by her alma mater Lindenwood College|||
|1962||Honorary captain in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard||Guardsmen nicknamed her "madrina" (godmother)|||
Personal life and legacy
She married Robert Finlay, president of Raymond Construction Company, on March 22, 1952, in Palm Beach, Florida. They had two daughters, including Andrea Gardner Finlay Swift. Finlay died on June 1, 2003 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Finlay was the maternal grandmother of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and her brother, actor Austin Swift. Swift cites Finlay for inspiring her to pursue a career in music. In 2020, Swift released the song "Marjorie" from her ninth studio album Evermore; Swift credited her grandmother with backing vocals which were sampled in the track.
- "United States Social Security Death Index" – via FamilySearch.org.
- O'Connor, Roisin (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift song 'Marjorie' is a tribute to her late grandmother". The Independent. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "St. Charles Soprano Wins 1st 'Music With The Girls' Trials". The St. Louis Star and Times. February 27, 1950. p. 5. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "United States Census, 1930". 1930 – via FamilySearch.org.
- "Margie - Parr of Puerto Rico". The St. Charles Banner-News. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "Concert Given By Lindenwood Vesper Choir". Mexico Ledger. April 17, 1948. p. 5. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Marjorie Moehlenkamp Wins Music Scholarship". The St. Louis Star and Times. June 10, 1949. p. 36. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Moehlenkamp, Finlay Wedding in South Mar. 22". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. February 24, 1952. p. 35. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Brink, Margaret J. "She's a star in Puerto Rico". Globe-Democrat. St. Louis, Missouri.
- Goddard, Bob (January 9, 1962). "In Our Town". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. p. 30. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Pop Concert Sunday At Kiel". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. January 13, 1962. p. 26. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Marjorie Moehlenkamp is finalist in music contest" (PDF). Lindenwood College Bulletin. June 1949. p. 13. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "180 Lindenwood Graduates Will Attend Reunion". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. October 26, 1961. p. 16. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Andaloro, Angela (December 11, 2020). "What Taylor Swift's Marjorie Is Really About". The List. Retrieved December 11, 2020.