Biography of John Rees
Adams County, NE Biographies





John Rees, a prominent representative of musical interests of Hastings, was born in Wales, September 7, 1855, a son of Richard and Elizabeth (Edwards) Rees, the former a marine engineer and machinist. The family crossed the Atlantic in 1870 and became residents of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Both parents are now deceased.

John Rees was one of a family of five sons and pursued his early education in the schools of Whales, while later he attended high school at Oshkosh. He was afterward apprenticed to the tinner's trade and in October, 1878, came to Hastings, where for two years he worked at his trade. In the meantime he had been studying music and merely utilized his trade in order to secure the means that would enable him to pursue his musical education. In 1880 he began teaching music and has since devoted his time and attention to that profession, teaching the violin, piano and pipe organ. He has also been active as a director of church choirs and is now serving as choir leader in the Congregational church. All of his time is given to his duties, for he has a large class and is regarded as one of the most capable and eminent musical directors in this part of the state. Nature imbued him with a love of music and from early manhood he has cultivated his taste and talent in this direction and has done much to further the enjoyment of the art in the city and county in which he lives. He had charge of the Presbyterian choir in Hastings for over thirty years and of the orchestra of the Kerr Opera House for about twenty years and organized the Conservatory of Music at Hastings College. In the fall of 1912 he withdrew from the Hastings College Conservatory and established the Rees Music School.

In May, 1878, Professor Rees was married to Miss Laura Emery and to them have been born two daughters, May E. and Gertrude, both of whom are teachers in the Rees Music School. Gertrude displays marked talent as a pianist, while the elder daughter is regarded as one of the finest violinists in this section of the country and devotes part of her time to concert and recital work. She is now giving concerts in New York state. Both excel in their chosen branches of music and have studied under those who are acknowledged masters of the art.

In his political views Professor Rees is a republican but while he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day has never been an office seeker. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons as a Knight Templar and as a Scottish Rite Mason of the thirty second degree. He is also a representative of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is very fond of golf, in which sport he displays considerable skill, and for the past three years he has been president of the Country Club. His artistic powers and his moral nature render him popular in all circles and he is most widely and prominently known in his part of the state.

From:
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1916


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