About Harry Benford
Harry Benford leads a double life. By day he is a long-retired Professor of Naval Architecture at the University of Michigan. As the shades of night fall over Ann Arbor, however, a sinister transformation takes place. His teeth lengthen into fangs, his hair (what's left of it) bristles in all directions; his hands turn into paws (but only after he has unbuttoned his spats), his eyebrows grow together over his nose, and he becomes a Gilbert & Sullivan fiend of the most rabid kind.
This strange affliction has its roots in 1956, when he and his first wife, Betty (now deceased), started serving as faculty advisors to The University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Harry is now less actively involved with the student group, having seen the responsibility more-than-amply taken over by another faculty couple: Karl and Ann Zinn. Harry recalls with satisfaction having founded the Society's friends group, FUMGASS, and having for thirteen years published its journal, GASBAG (Gilbert & Sullivan Boys & Girls).
Harry still maintains correspondence with G&S fans around the world and takes particular pleasure in accompanying his great granddaughter, Bonnie Betty Benford, to UMGASS Saturday matinees. Harry endured a significant loss when his first wife, Betty, died suddenly in 2005, but then had the great good fortune to find Kathy, a second wife of singular virtues, who fits right in with his Geeandessian views and Geeandessian friends.
About Kenneth Sandford
Kenneth Sandford, who wrote the foreword is, arguably, the greatest singer-actor ever to grace the D’Oyly Carte name. He was associated with the works of Gilbert & Sullivan from 1957, when he joined the illustrious company as a young man. For more than forty years he set a standard of performance that proved inspirational to fellow-professionals and amateurs alike. Until his death in 2004 at the age of 80, he continued to delight audiences with his lovely singing, and took every opportunity to pass on to the next generation of Savoyards the benefits of his vast experience.
He was a man of unfailing modesty, wit, and good humor. Happily, his legendary interpretations of the "Pooh-Bah" roles are preserved for posterity courtesy of his many fine recordings and also my biography of this great artist.
Kenneth Sandford’s Gilbert and Sullivan legacy will last for many decades to come -- not bad for a north-country lad who had set out to be a painter!
About Geoffrey Shovelton
Geoffrey Shovelton, who designed cover and chapter frontispiece illustrations for the Second, Third, and Online Editions, first performed G&S in a 1961 production of The Pirates of Penzance, when he was still a geography teacher.
In 1971 he became a full-time professional singer and, two years later began to sing G&S again, with Thomas Round and Donald Adams in G&S for All (in the UK) and The World of Gilbert and Sullivan (in Australasia and North America). TheD’Oyly Carte Opera Company offered him his first contract in 1975 and he became principal tenor, touring the UK and North America with the company, and recording with Decca.
After the company’s closure, in February 1982, Geoffrey’s freelance career included G&S, which he performed at the Gawsworth Summer Theatre, the Buxton International G&S Festival (in the UK and the USA) and with G&S a la Carte – a company created by former D’Oyly Carte performers. He sang the G&S tenor leads, as a guest artist, for many companies in the UK and for the Washington (DC) Savoyards during 1992-94.
From 1984 Geoffrey toured North America for Byers-Schwalbe Inc., as singer/manager with The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan, a company he formed to include D’Oyly Carte principal colleagues. In 1993 the group changed to the Riles Agency and continued to tour until 2005, with Geoffrey’s wife, Deborah Clague, as principal soprano.
Geoffrey and Deborah now live amid the lakes and forests of the Western Mountains of Maine, where he devotes much of his time to artwork and writing. As a custodian of his family’s history, he is writing his life story – illustrated, of course - for his six grandchildren in the UK.
About Ralph MacPhail, Jr.
Ralph MacPhail, Jr., is Professor emeritus of Theatre, Bridgewater College of Virginia, where he taught and directed for 33 years.
Still residing in Bridgewater "in retirement," he serves as Artistic Director of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin (http://www.gilbertsullivan.org), and enjoys an active schedule of speaking on, writing about, and directing the Savoy operas.
An avid collector of anything related to G&S, he also enjoys corresponding with fellow Savoyards: [email protected].