"Nish" Rumboldt: Newfoundland's beloved Pied Piper of Song

Douglas Dunsmore


This paper deals with the life and work of Ignatius "Nish" Rumboldt, a formidable force in the development of the choral art in Newfoundland and Labrador. Data has been gathered through the examination of journal and newspaper
articles, and a series of personal interviews, including comments made by Dr. Rumboldt himself.
I examine his involvement in the establishment of many community choirs across Newfoundland, a choral network that spanned the entire province, from Labrador to the Avalon Peninsula. Most importantly, the paper focuses on the
phenomenal success that Dr.Rumboldt enjoyed while sowing the seeds of "The Joy of Singing" wherever he went. It attempts to supply an answer to the question "Why did everyone love to sing for Nish?" and while doing so, it will demonstrate that much of the popularity of choral singing and the singing culture in general in this province can be directly linked to his labours of love.
In addition to articles and interviews, I have examined materials found in a collection of Dr.Rumboldt's electronic tapes and personal papers which has been recently put into the MUN Folklore Archive. What better place could there be for this paper on the life and work of Nish Rumboldt, than right here and now, at a conference based on the phenomenon of singing? After all, it was this very phenomenon that enabled Nish to work his magic making him "Newfoundland's beloved Pied-Piper".

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