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Who Sophia Germanich
When November 29, 2007
Where Nampa, ID
What Sophia Germanich McElwaine, WLS 1930s Singing Star
 

Sophia (Germanich) McElwaine, 96, Caldwell, died Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007, of natural causes at a local care center. Cremation was under the direction of Dakan Funeral Chapel, Caldwell.

Hillbilly-Music.com Notes: Sophia and her parents were immigrants from the Ukraine area that was part of Russia back in the early 1900s. She was less than one year old when her parents moved to the United States to pursue their dreams.

She began her musical training in high school, but she had to give up her education for a time and the musical classes because the family economics required her to find a job.

She first found work in the circulation department of Prairie Farmer, the owner of radio station WLS, back in 1929, working for Mr. G. A. Holt. However, her vocal talents also got noticed and Mr. Holt agreed with Burridge D. Butler, publisher of Prairie Farmer, that she should be "moved upstairs" to the radio division.

Sophia was known as a sweet singer, famous for her closing hymn number on the show, Dinnerbell Time.

About 1937, she married Bob McElwain of the WLS business department.

She was featured on the cover of the WLS Stand-By magazine in the June 1, 1935 issue.

One of the early WLS Family Albums that Prairie Farmer published annually, noted, "Sophia has an unusually mellow soprano voice. She sings mostly the old classics, and a classic, you know, is a song you keep on liking after you've heard it for years."

In June of 1935, she was featured during the Dinnerbell Programs Monday through Friday from 12:15pm to 1:00pm CST. Other stars who appeared on the program with her included Ralph Waldo Emerson, organist; Hoosier Sod Busters; WLS Rangers; Dean Brothers (Eddie Dean); The Westerners; and the Flannery Sisters.

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