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Nevilla Ottley's Musical Family from the 1800s to the present

Musicians, teachers, authors, artists, preachers, engineers, agriculturalists continued down through the Ottley line all over the world till now.  Ms. Nevilla Ottley the founder of the Ottley Music School, has found music in many of her ancestral lines, Ottley, Grosvenor, Connor, Taitt to name a few.  Let's look a little closer:

·    Her great-great-grandfather, John Joseph Connor (1833-1933) sang the slave songs to his grandson,

·    Edric Connor (1913-1968) who was a singer and collected/ published the West Indian Folk Songs and Spirituals (much like Hamilton Waters did for his grandson Harry T. Burleigh who did the same for African American Spirituals).  Edric Connor (born in Trinidad, was also a Shakespearean actor in London, and acted in at least 19 movies in his short life.

·    Edric Connor's daughter, Geraldine Connor, (1946-2012)was a major producer in Yorkshire.

·    Nevilla's grandfather, Joseph Ethelbert Ottley (1871-1924) born in Tobago, and lived in Trinidad from age 16, was a string player, owning and playing violin, viola, cello, cuatro, banjo and bass.

·    Her uncle Cecil Gordon Ottley (1910-2006) was a guitarist, acoustic from age 16, and electric guitar in his later years in his 80-90s.  His children are musicians.

·    Laura Ottley Franklin a piano and voice teacher and choral conductor.

·    Margaret Ottley Okubo a published author, others are teachers, financiers, and his grandchildren include,

·    Glenn Gordon Ottley, was a guitarist like his dad, and gave it up becoming a financier in the Washington, D.C. area.  His daughter Pauline Ottley McFarlin is a visual artist, Stephanie Ottley Williams was a flutist, and the youngest Judith Ottley, M.Mus., a clarinetist of great talent and the founder and director of Tempo Music Lessons

·    David Ottley was a major bassist in Tobago, and continues now to perform in the UK.

  • Nevilla's father, Neville Ethelbert Ottley (1914-2010) was a lyric tenor, having studied at University of California Riverside with Frank Tavleoni.  Mr. Ottley sang throughout the West Coast in churches and other events.  He sang in Trinidad as a youth till 1945 when she went to the USA, sang while a college student in Michigan, sang in southern California in the 1950s, and in the Caribbean during the 1960s, becoming known for his lyric voice as the "Sweet Singer in Israel".  He sang primarily sacred music, or art songs on nature.

  • Nevilla's dad's cousin, Robert Carlton Ruthven Ottley (1914-?) was a noted author of history with at least two dozen published history books as listed in Mitchell's West Indian Bibiography, 9th Edition

  • Nevilla's dad's cousin, Nearlin "Lynn" Taitt (1934-2010) was also from Trinidad, moved to Jamaica in 1960 and became Lynn Taitt, "the Musician's Musician" according to reviews.  The guitar (and steel drum) virtuoso was highly rated for his inventive and unconventional guitar styling. He has been widely credited as having crafted the first rocksteady bassline on the song "Take It Easy" by vocalist Hopeton Lewis, which sold over 10,000 in one weekend.  He is credited with the beginning of the ska movement in Jamaica, and had a lot to do with setting up the career of Bob Marley. He moved to Jamaica in 1960 and later to Canada.

  • Another Ottley Cousin, Edward "Nickey" (Ottley) Taylor, Jr. is a bass/baritone singer, having performed in Trinidad with the Petite Musicale, and with the Marionettes Chorale.  In the USA, he was a member of the Singing City chorus in Philadelphia, and with them has performed regularly not only with the Philadelphia Orchestra, but also with the New York Philharmonic, the Leningrad, the Israel (under Zubin Mehta),and other famous orchestras.

·    On her mother's side of the family, Nevilla's uncle Cecil Gervase Grosvenor (1899-1982) born in Barbados, and was living in Miami, Florida when he died, was an award-winning pianist in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, in his youth.

·    Her aunt Sybil Grosvenor Spann (1903-2004) was seamstress (like their mother) by trade, a church treasurer, church organist and pianist, children's choir director, and play director, and taught her little sister Myra (born 1914) to play piano,

·    Another aunt Edna Grosvenor Davis  (1905-1941) went to the New York on a violin scholarship around 1920,


  • Her uncle, Bertram, played mandolin professionally , like their dad,William Frederick Grosvenor (1863-1930), and belonged to a band that sometimes practiced at their home.
  •  Her mother, Myra Eloise Grosvenor Ottley (October 6, 1914 to December 5, 2011), born in Trinidad of Barbadian parents, was a contralto singer.  Actually, it was through singing that Nevilla's parents met in their pre-teens, and teamed up as a duo before and after marriage.  Her oldest sister taught her piano as a child, and she continued in Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Michigan with Dr. Beech.  She became Nevilla's first piano teacher.


·    Nevilla's first sister, Gerri Ottley Caesar, is a psychological administrative nurse, a singer with the MetroSingers, and the former Soulseekers, and a steel drummer (cello pans), arranger and teacher, teaching the Metropolitan Symphony Steel Orchestra II, and a former teacher of the OMS Steel Band.

·    Nevilla's brother Myron S. Ottley, Ph.D. is a scientist, but also a choir director, having begun as a lad to direct vocal ensembles, as a teenager the Golden Tones (about 16 teenage boys singing in 4-8 parts), the Soulseekers (a 30-voice mixed choir of college students that recorded at least 2 records), and the MetroSingers (a 35-voice adult professional choir that has to date 3 DVDs and 3 CDs, having performed in the US and abroad, and televised over 3ABN and Hope Channel).He was also a member of the "Breath of Life Quartet" for many years, traveling worldwide.  His son

·    Anwar G. M. Ottley is a pipe organist, was a teacher at OMS, and a conductor of growing reputation in the Washington DC area, having successfully conducted the Takoma Academy Gospel Choir as a high school student, the Columbia Union College (now the Washington Adventist University's) Black Student Union Chorale in music of Black composers from the renaissance to the present day for 3 of his 4 college years (from where he graduated as the senior of the year), and now after receiving his Master's degree in conducting at Andrews University in Michigan was he music director at the John Nevins Andrews Elementary School till it closed in June 2017.  He is the Pastor of Worship since 2015 and is the Minister of Music at a large metropolitan church in the Washington, D.C. area, Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist since about 2009.  He is also a published choral composer and arranger. with GIA  His sister....

·    Jeuelle Melody Ottley Sam is a Physician's Assistant, and a singer, and was a Praise Team Leader in Metropolitan SDA church the Washington, D.C. area before moving to Florida.

·    Nevilla's younger sister Captain Ruby Ottley Anderson, USNR, who is an administrative nurse and a singer, has three children who are all musicians of high order, Nathan Anderson (1984-2010), pianist and arranger, worked as a computer tech in the U.S. Public Health Service, was entering medical school, Nicole Anderson, concert pianistcomposer, and in law school, Nichelle Anderson, a coloratura soprano heard here as the high obbligato, is a nurse at Holy Cross Hospital.  Nichelle's repertoire when she was just 16 included "Canzona di Doretta" from Puccini's LA RONDINE, performed with Ottley Music School's Hyattsville Symphony Orchestra at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rock Creek in Washington, D. C.

·    Nevilla married Edgar E. K. Adjahoe, a bassoonist and that family from Ghana has its own famed history, the creation of the talking drum with many professional musicians. His mother Juanita Graham Adjahoe was a church organist and music teacher, as is his sister, Agnes Gasu. Edgar and Nevilla's son, Jonathan Christopher Kwame Adjahoe, is a bassist (upright and electric guitar) from his early teens, was a computer networking technologist for the US Government (State Dept. and Pentagon), and bassist for two large churches in the USA, and is currently studying Bass performance, Music Education and Film Scoring at Berklee School of Music.  He is also a sought-after photographer.  

It is with musical pride that the Ottley Music School uses its Ottley family crest as its logo (even though there were many slave owners and we believe some slaves among that part of the family), for certainly as its motto "Dat Deus Incrementum" say, "God gives increase".


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