August 2 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1891 ~ Sir Arthur Bliss, British composer
Read quotes by and about Bliss

• 1900 ~ Helen Morgan (Riggins), Pop Singer

• 1905 ~ Karl Amadeus Hartmann, German composer

• 1924 ~ Joe Harnell, Conductor and arranger

• 1925 ~ John Dexter, Opera director, Mid-America Chorale

• 1921 ~ Enrico Caruso, Italian operatic tenor, died in Naples.

• 1926 ~ The first demonstration of the Vitaphone system, that combined picture and sound for movies, was held at the Warner Theatre in New York City. John Barrymore and Mary Astor starred in the demonstration film for the new moving picture projector.

• 1935 ~ Hank Cochran, Pop Singer and songwriter

• 1937 ~ Garth Hudson, Musician, keyboard with The Band

• 1937 ~ Benny Goodman and his quartet recorded Smiles for Victor Records. Playing with Goodman’s clarinet on the famous song were Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa.

• 1939 ~ Edwin Patten, Singer with Gladys Knight & The Pips

• 1941 ~ Doris Kenner-Jackson (Coley), Singer with The Shirelles

• 1943 ~ Kathy Lennon, Singer with The Lennon Sisters

• 1951 ~ Andrew Gold, Singer, son of composer Ernest Gold

• 1991 ~ Jeri Southern passed away

• 1997 – Nigeria’s musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who popularized the Afro-music beat globally, died of AIDS aged 58.

• 2000 ~ Helen Quinn, who for more than 30 years presided over the Metropolitan Opera patrons who lined up to buy standing-room tickets, died at the age of 76. Often called the Queen of Standees by those who allowed her to take charge of the ticket queue, Quinn was herself a veteran of standing-room lines at the Met, and attended five or six performances a week, almost always as a standee. In 1966, on her own initiative, she imposed a system on the standee process that the throng of regulars was apparently happy to abide by, and to which the Met gave tacit approval.

• 2001 ~ Ron Townson, the portly centerpiece singer for the Grammy-winning pop group  The 5th Dimension, died of renal failure after a four-year battle with kidney disease. He was 68.  Other members of the reconstituted group – known for such 1960s hits as Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In, Wedding Bell Blues and Stoned Soul Picnic – performed at the Capitol Fourth music and fireworks show on July 4 in Washington, D.C.   Declining health had forced Townson to retire from The 5th Dimension in 1997, bringing to an end a career that saw him tour with such music legends as Nat King’ Cole and Dorothy Dandridge, appear in operas and direct choirs. He helped front The 5th Dimension when the group’s smooth mixture of pop, jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues won it four Grammys in 1968 for the Jimmy Webb song Up Up and Away. Other hits included One Less Bell to Answer and Sweet Blindness. As various members left The 5th Dimension in the 1970s to pursue solo projects, Townson formed the group Ron Townson and Wild Honey. Later, he reunited with McLemore and LaRue in a new version of The 5th Dimension that included Phyllis Battle and Greg Walker. He also appeared on television and in films, including the 1992 movie The
Mambo Kings.

• 2002 ~ Freidann Parker, co-founder of the Colorado Ballet, died at the age of 77.  Colorado Ballet co-founder Lillian Covillo met Parker in the late 1940s in a dance class taught by Martha Wilcox. The two began the Covillo-Parker School of Dance, and then a fledgling ballet company.After an ambitious double bill in 1961, they created Colorado Concert Ballet, which presented Denver’s first Nutcracker the following season. Every performance sold out. By 1978, the board of directors more than doubled its budget to $100,000, and Colorado Ballet was born. Today its budget has grown to $7 million with a roster of 40 dancers. Parker’s first dance lessons were with Iris Potter. She later trained with modern-dance pioneer Hanya Holm.

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