The Diva & the Rancher

The Story of Norma Piper and George Pocaterra

ISBN 9781894765701
Softcover | Publication Date: September 25, 2006
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
320 Pages

About the Book

The story begins in 1903, when George left Italy and came to the Canadian Rockies with hopes of striking it rich. While establishing the Buffalo Head Ranch in the Alberta foothills, he became friendly with the neighbouring Stoney, with whom he explored much of what is now Kananaskis Country.

In 1933 he returned to Italy, where he met and fell in love with Norma Piper, a young Calgary singer who had moved to Italy to study opera. They eventually married, and George took over the management of Norma’s rising operatic career. However, the onset of the Second World War compelled them to change their plans. They returned to Alberta, where Norma’s career took off in a totally different direction. Initially she taught singing at Mount Royal College, but she later opened her own studio and became Calgary’s most beloved music teacher. George, meanwhile, continued with his coal-mining ventures in the mountains, but was to suffer many bitter disappointments.

Drawing on personal diaries and correspondence, the authors have created an intimate portrait of two remarkable Albertans whose legacy lives on.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Hamblin has an MA in history from McMaster University and a Master of Library Science from the University of Toronto. She works as a librarian and archivist at the Glenbow Museum. In her spare time, she enjoys researching and writing about interesting Alberta women. She has written a number of articles for Alberta History and is the co-author of The Diva and the Rancher: The Story of Norma Piper and George Pocaterra (RMB, 2006). She lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Born in pre-revolutionary Cuba, David Finch is the only son of Canadian missionaries. After completing a portion of his education in Canada and Venezuela, Finch came to Canada for good and earned a master’s degree in post-confederation Canadian history at the University of Calgary. He presently lives in Calgary with his wife and daughter. In his spare time David likes to canoe, cross-country ski and hike in the Canadian Rockies. He builds and restores canoes and has a fine collection of watercraft.