Her Greatest Love

Thelma Wilson-Tucker

Thelma Wilson-Tucker

Thelma Wilson-Tucker  was born the eldest child of William Francis Wilson 3rd. and Ismay Winifred Rebecca Dill- Wilson. Her early education was at the Franklyn Lodge. This was  a historical note for her family as it was later discovered that Frankly lodge was owned and  built but her great great grand father Enfield Dill. Thelma later attended Central School .

While a teenager it was discovered that she loved to sing and was gifted with a beautiful voice. She sang in the St. Monica’s choir and joined the Nellie Swan’s  singing group entertaining in various churches around the Island of Bermuda with her cousin Esther Whitter-Burgess, Joseph Richards; David Ifor Nisbett and Thomas Nisbett who later became Canon of the Anglican Church. They were paid 2/- shillings for their services and 1/2 of that went to the building fund of the St. Monica’s hall. Being a very sociable person Thelma won a popularity contest at the Unity Patio In Pembroke . The urge to sing continued to nip at her and still in her early teens she sang at Frascati Hotel which became the Coral Island Club and with the St. Monica’s Negro Spiritual Trio on the Sunday Amateur Hour. As her singing voice matured so did Thelma and she had the opportunity to work with her Uncle Leverson (Louie) Wilson himself  a North Village Bandsman and saxophonist in the Mark Williams band at the St. George’s Club . There she received her first pay of 10/- . She continued to excel in her career and was noticed by a visiting musician . She was offered the chance to travel with him but being under age she needed the permission of both parents her father refused his permission. Thelma was crushed but she did not let this hamper her dreams. She studied tap dancing, played the cocktail drums and learned the accordion .She got the opportunity to work at the Old Hamilton Hotel with several White bands at the Naval Annex Base in Southampton Bermuda which included such persons as Freddie Chapman, Eddie Whilsteen. She had the great privilege of performing at N.O.Base with Tobby Chippa’s band in shows titled ‘a Thousand and one nights and Solomon and the Seven Veils.

In 1949 she joined the Sidney Bean Trio and was the first female to sing during college week season. In 1950 she joined Philip Dublin and the Dublineers staying with them for seven years singing at the Belmont and ABC club. As her career progressed she sang with Al Harris, Ted Bassett and Gladwin ( Rags) Richardson at the Mid-Ocean Club and Loyalty Inn. She became classed as the Sarah Vaughn and Lena Horne of Bermuda.She admired Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson were some of her idols. She met some well-known people in the music field during  her career among them Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick Arthur Prysock and Louie Armstrong. After 25 years in the music field she retired. and worked for a while in the well-known A S Cooper Department store. She was an avid gardener winning prizes for her lovely Violets.

Thelma received the Bermuda Musicians Varity Artist Award and was honoured at the Ambassadors of song in 2006 She was honoured among five female Divas in 2008 by Dale Butler.And  inducted into the music hall of fame in 2010. Thelma lived her dream  to the fullest and before her demise said ‘I’ve lived a good and full life. She was a treasure that will live in the hearts of her family,friends and Bermudian Community forever.

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