Also known as: Toni
Antonica Fairbanks Canova was known as Toni to her friends and "Aunt Dolly" to her immediate family. There are several "Antonicas" in the family, so this helped identify her.
** From a verbal accounting by Antonica as recorded by her son Frank J. Canova, Jr at the Merrill Gardens retirement community on June 6, 2010 **
High School o I graduated from a private high school. My school was called Saint Joseph High School in Emmetsburg, MD June 3, 1932. Their slogan was "To know - To love - To serve" o I played the piano from 6 years old o When I graduated I tried to get into Peabody Conservatory of Music and had to audition. I had lots of anticipation. o At my graduation Miguel, Ed, Noel (2 of Grandma Toni's 4 brothers & her sister) and 'Mother' attended. o There were about 35 graduates. o HS was run by nuns with a big coronet (head dress). They were nice and not too strict. o Music was a favorite subject o Graduated as "Antonica Cecilia Fairbanks". Cecilia was my confirmation name. Career goals o I loved music - but didn't have a particular career goal when I graduated. o Mother ran things o Noel loved swimming o There was not as high an expectation for me because I was a woman. College o Joined Peabody School of Music o It was enjoyable o Met new friends from other places - one girl in particular I met ran a horse ranch - Her parents owned the stables. I kept up with them for over 10 years following my graduation. o I took 3 years at the school of music o At school you offered your talent - but after my time there, my skills were greatly improved. Family o I commuted to the school from home. My mother was alone. My 4 brothers were already off working. o My brothers (Miguel, Neligan, Ed, and Anthony) had 4 years of college. o They were excited about what they were doing and came home and talked about their work. o Neligan went to GA tech. He had asthma and was going to school off and on, but still graduated in spite of it. o Miguel became an engineer after attending Swarthmore College. o Ed graduated the following year and picked up Electrical Engineering. He joined United Airlines. o Charles was a mechanical engineer. o In those days, you picked a job and kept it. o Anthony was a dreamer and took off 3 years to do photography. o Noel also went to Peabody School of Music and studied organ, however never completed her degree because she got married to Bill King. " She used that skill to become one of the first people at RCA victor and cataloged records. " She was always disappointed she didn't complete her degree and spoke about it many times. Doing what you need to do o When WWII came, the government ran classified ads. I learned drafting in night school in Swarthmore College and got a job at GE, the same place as Neligan. o The treasurer paid people at the office. I made $35 per week. Prices were lower so this went very far. o After a short career with a piano orchestra, I met Frank Canova (Sr.) and we got married.
** From a verbal accounting by Antonica as recorded by Margaret Kingery in 2008 at the Merrill Gardens retirement community **
ANTONICA FAIRBANKS CANOVA. Antonica Canova, better known as Toni, lived her entire life on the east coast of the United States until August of 2007 when she moved to California to be near her son and his family in Fremont.
Toni was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1915. She attended high school in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Her family was very talented in music and she with her brother and sister were students in the 1920s in the Swarthmore school of Music that was operated from the family home of Margaret Hill Walker and Ruth Hill Muncie. After high school Toni won a 3-year scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD and later she studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. There she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1935. She attended Juilliard School of Music in New York City in the summer of 1935 and returned to the family home in Swarthmore to join the Philadelphia Piano Orchestra (6 pianos plus 12 girls) as a concert pianist. She traveled with this group for one or two years during WWII which was quite a feat to move 6 grand pianos to different venues. She found it very stressful experiencing the life of traveling musicians. She played for the USO during WWII.
She purchased the Swarthmore School of Music about 1940 and for the next 15 years she would teach piano from the family home on Park Avenue in Swarthmore. The school officially closed in November 1955 with the marriage of Toni to Frank Canova. Frank was a widower who already had a son Jude. Frankie, their son was born the first year of their marriage in Wilmington, Delaware. He worked in advertising for Hercules Company. They lived there until Frank retired in 1957 then all the family moved to the northern part of Florida. Toni continued to share her talent by being a church organist in Green Cove Springs, Florida. When Frank died she moved to a smaller home in Orange Park, Florida and ultimately to Merrill Gardens in Fremont, CA.
**From the Delaware School of Music Catalog - listed under Faculty - approximately 1954:**
ANTONICA FAIRBANKS is a resident of Swarthmore, Pa., where she has been teaching piano since 1936. She is a graduatet of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she held the 3-year Colston Piano Scholarship, majoring in Piano and Pedagogy with Eliza Woods and Harmony with Gustav Strube. Later she attended the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in (actually just studied) Composition under Harl MacDonald and was graduated from there with a Bachelor of Music degree. While continuing her teaching she studied Piano with Gordon Stanley and Ernest Hutcheson at the Julliard Institute and at Chautauqua, N.Y. At present Miss Fairbanks is accompanist for the Delaware Saengerbund and the Arden singers.
**The following is the wedding announcement in the Delaware "Journal" Nov. 19, 1955.**
"Miss Antonica Fairbanks Bride of Frank J. Canova"
Well known musician and advertising man to live in Woodcrest after Virginia trip.
In our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Morton, Pa., at 9am today Miss Antonica Fairbanks, daughter of Mrs. A. U. Fairbanks of Swarthmore, Pa., became the bride of Mr. Frank J. Canova of Wilmington. The nuptial mass was celebrated by the Rev. Peter J. Cruise. Altar boys were Paul C. Tigue, Jr. of Wilmington and Michael Fairbanks of Swarthmore, a nephew of the bride.
Mrs. William H. King of Glenn Falls, N.Y. was matron of honor for her sister. Mr. Canova's son, Mr. Jude T. Canova was best man. Ushers were Mr. Anthony M. Fairbanks, brother of the bride, of Swarthmore, and Mr. James Durbrow of Wilmington.
Mr. Charles M. Fairbanks of Havertown, Pa., escorted his sister. She wore a street length dress of Dior blue satin with matching hat and carried a prayer book with white camelias and streamers.
Mrs. King was dressed in lavender taffeta with matching feathered hat and corsage of white camellias.
Solos were given by Mr. William Killhour of Devon, Pa.
A wedding breakfast for relatives and out-of-town guests followed at the Ingleneuk, Swarthmore. The couple will reside at 607 Curtis Avenue, Woodcrest, after a wedding trip to Virginia.
Mrs. Canova is well known in music circles both in this city and Swarthmore. She teaches piano at Delaware School of Music and conducts a studio in Swarthmore. Mr. Canova is the advertising department manager at Hercules Powder Company.