Happy Birthday, Gene Krupa

krupa

 

Eugene Bertram “Gene” Krupa lived from January 15, 1909 to October 16, 1973.  He was an American jazz and big band drummer, actor and composer, known for his highly energetic and flamboyant style.

One of my all-time favorite non-piano songs is Sing Sing Sing. Krupa joined Benny Goodman’s band in 1934, where his featured drum work made him a national celebrity. His tom-tom interludes on their hit “Sing, Sing, Sing” were the first extended drum solos to be recorded commercially.

The Benny Goodman big band playing Sing Sing Sing, featuring Gene Krupa at the end. We get the added benefit of hearing Mr. Harry James play a trumpet solo.

~~~

Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich: Famous Drum Battle

January 11 in Music History

today

. 1837 ~ Death of Irish pianist and composer John Field in Moscow, while on tour

 

. 1843 ~ Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, poet and composer of the lyrics to “Star Spangled Banner” died at the age of 63

. 1856 ~ Charles (Johann Christian) Sinding, Norwegian composer

. 1875 ~Reinhold Moritsevich Glière Russian composer
More information about Glière

. 1895 ~ Laurens Hammond, inventor of the Hammond organ. The sound of the Hammond was used by many rock artists including; Procol Harum, Keith Emerson, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers and The Faces. Hammond died on July 3, 1973.  There is a Hammond organ in the O’Connor Music Studio.

. 1901 ~ Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov died. Kalinnikov was a Russian composer of two symphonies, several additional orchestral works and numerous songs, all of them imbued with characteristics of folksong.

. 1902 ~ Maurice Duruflé, French organist and composer

. 1924 ~ Don Cherry, Singer with Band of Gold

. 1928 ~ Ol’ Man River was recorded on Victor Records by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. Bing Crosby crooned as the song’s featured vocalist. The tune came from the Broadway musical, “Showboat”.

. 1930 ~ Jack Nimitz, Jazz ‘reed’ musician, toured with Supersax

. 1933 ~ Goldie Hill, Country entertainer, married to country singer, Carl Smith

. 1946 ~ Naomi (Diane) Judd, Grammy Award-winning singer in the duo, The Judds, mother of singers Wynonna and Ashley

. 1949 ~ Dennis (Frederick) Greene, Singer with Sha-Na-Na

. 1958 ~ Vicki Peterson, Guitarist, singer with The Bangles

. 1980 ~ Rupert Holmes was at the top of the pop music charts, with Escape (The Pina Colada Song).

. 1981 ~ Leonard Bernstein began conducting the BR – Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra in Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” in Munich’s Hercules Hall. Performed one act at a time, in January, April, and November of 1981, respectively, Bernstein’s “Tristan und Isolde” was telecast live and later released as an audio recording by Philips–to some controversy.

Karl Böhm remarked, with regards to Bernstein’s exaggeratedly slow tempi, “For the first time, someone dares to perform this music as Wagner wrote it.” Böhm’s own recording of the Prelude was four minutes faster.

Upon completion of the project, Bernstein declared, “My life is complete… I don’t care what happens after this. It is the finest thing I’ve ever done.”

. 2003 ~ Mickey Finn, bongo player with 1970s band T.Rex, died at the age of 55. Formed by flamboyant lead singer Marc Bolan in 1967, T.Rex shot to fame with hits such as Get it On, Hot Love and Children of the Revolution in the early 1970s. The band was originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex but the name was shortened to T.Rex in 1970 after Finn joined, replacing original member Steve Took. The band achieved a huge following in Britain — sparking a period of “T.Rextacy” among devoted fans — but achieved more limited popularity in the United States and elsewhere. Credited with introducing the phenomenon of “glam rock” to pop music and influencing artists such as David Bowie, the band played to crowds of up to 100,000 and sold 39 million albums, according to Rolling Stone music magazine.

. 2004 ~ Randy VanWarmer, who recorded the pop hit Just When I Needed You Most and then had a successful career as a songwriter, died. He was 48. Just When I Needed You Most reached No. 4 on Billboard’s pop chart in 1979. VanWarmer, also a guitarist, had written it when he was 18. More recently, VanWarmer wrote I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why), a No. 1 hit by the country group Alabama in 1992, and I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes, No. 1 by the Oak Ridge Boys in 1984. VanWarmer was born March 30, 1955, in Indian Hills, Colo., and spent much of his childhood in Cornwall, England, after his father died. As a young man he lived in New York City and then Los Angeles before moving to Nashville in 1985. VanWarmer had recently recorded a duet with country singer Razzy Bailey, Sandcastles.

. 2005 ~ Spencer Dryden, drummer for the San Francisco rock band the Jefferson Airplane, died. He was 66.

. 2005 ~ Jimmy Griffin, an Academy Award-winning songwriter and former guitarist for the 1970s pop group Bread, died. He was 61.

December 28 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1812 ~ Julius Rietz, German composer, conductor and cellist

• 1896 ~ Roger Sessions, American composer

• 1905 ~ Earl “Fatha” Hines, American jazz pianist and bandleader, a classic duet with Louis Armstrong was Weather Bird, songwriter

• 1911 ~ San Francisco established its own symphony orchestra as part of its comeback from a disastrous earthquake.

• 1921 ~ Johnny Otis (Veliotes), ‘Inventor of R&B’, composer, songwriter, drummer vibes with The Johnny Otis Show

• 1930 ~ Edmund Thigpen, Jazz Drummer

• 1932 ~ Dorsey Burnette, Singer, brother of singer Johnny Burnette

• 1938 ~ Charles Neville, Saxophone, flute, percussion with The Neville Brothers

• 1937 ~ Anniversary of Maurice Ravel’s death.

• 1943 ~ Bobby Comstock, Singer

• 1944 ~ The musical, On the Town, opened in New York City for a run of 462 performances. It was Leonard Bernstein’s first big Broadway success. The show’s hit song, New York, New York, continues to be successful.

• 1946 ~ Edgar Winter, American rock vocalist, saxophonist, guitarist and keyboardist

• 1946 ~ Carrie Jacobs Bond passed away.  She was an American singer, pianist, and songwriter who composed some 175 pieces of popular music from the 1890s through the early 1940s

• 1947 ~ Dick Diamonde (Dingeman Van Der Sluys), Bass with The Easybeats

• 1950 ~ Alex Chilton, Guitarist, singer

• 1953 ~ Richard Clayderman, Pianist

• 1953 ~ Joe Diffie, Country Singer

• 1957 ~ At The Hop, by Danny and The Juniors, hit #1 on the music charts. It stayed at the top spot for seven weeks. The title of the tune was originally Do the Bop, but was changed at the suggestion of ‘America’s Oldest Living Teenager’ Dick Clark. Trivia: Danny and The Juniors filled in for a group that failed to appear on Clark’s American Bandstand show in Philadelphia. He called The Juniors to come into the studio immediately. They did and lip-synced At The Hop (written by Junior, Dave White and a friend, John Medora). It took off like a rocket to number one. (A few years later, Danny and The Juniors handed stardom to Chubby Checker when they failed to appear on Clark’s show.)

• 1963 ~ Paul Hindemith passed away
More information about Hindemith

• 1964 ~ Principal filming of the movie classic, Dr. Zhivago, began on location near Madrid, Spain. When completed, the film was 197 minutes long and so spectacular that it received ten Oscar nominations, winning five of the Academy Awards, including Best Original Score. Lara’s Theme was first heard in this movie.

• 1981 ~ WEA Records (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) raised the price of its 45 rpm records from $1.68 to $1.98 this day. The company was the leader of the pack with other labels soon boosting their prices. Within a few years, the 45 rpm record was boosted right out of existence.

• 2001 ~ Frankie Gaye, whose combat experience during the Vietnam War was credited with influencing his older brother Marvin’s legendary Motown album “What’s Going On,” died of complications following a heart attack. He was 60. Gaye was a radio operator stationed in Vietnam in the 1960s when he wrote letters to his brother expressing his dissatisfaction with the war. His experiences influenced several songs on his brother’s 1971 album, including Save The Children, Inner City Blues and Mercy Mercy Me, according to Ralph Tee in the book “Soul Music Who’s Who.” Gaye, like his brother, had begun singing in church as a youngster. He went on to work with several Motown artists, including Mary Wells and Kim Weston and provided background vocals on many of his brother’s albums, including “What’s Going On” and 1977’s “Marvin Gaye, Live at the London Palladium.” On his own, Gaye composed the soundtrack to the 1972 film “Penitentiary 1” and toured extensively, both in the United States and England. He also released the singles Extraordinary Girl in 1989 and My Brother in 1990.

• 2016 ~ Debbie Reynolds, 84, died one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher. She was an American actress, singer, businesswoman, film historian, and humanitarian.

More about Reynolds.

 

December 20 ~ This Day in Music History

hanukkah

Hanukkah
Hanukkah Music
Hanukkah Music Lyrics

 

Hanukkah 2017 began at sunset (4:48 at the O’Connor Music Studio) on Tuesday, December 12 and ends today: Wednesday, December 20.

Christmas Music: Johnny Marks

• 1728 ~ Franz Xaver Pokorny, Czech Classical era composer and violinist.

• 1783 ~ Padre Antonio Francisco Javier Jose Soler

• 1871 ~ Henry Kimball Hadley, American composer and conductor

• 1898 ~ Irene (Marie) Dunne, Actress in Show Boat, Anna and the King of Siam, Alternate Delegate to the United Nations, Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985.

• 1909 ~ Vagn Holmboe, Danish composer and music critic

• 1920 ~ An English-born comedian named Leslie Downes became an American citizen. He had lived in the United States since 1908 and became one of the nation’s true ambassadors for show business and charity. We say, “Thanks for the memories,” to Bob Hope.

• 1928 ~ For the first time, a living actress in the United States had a theater named after her. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre opened in New York City.

• 1932 ~ Al Jolson recorded April Showers on Brunswick Records.

• 1938 ~ John Harbison, American composer and conductor

• 1944 ~ Bobby Colomby, Drummer, singer with Blood, Sweat & Tears

• 1948 ~ Little Stevie Wright, Singer with The Easybeats

• 1949 ~ Harry Belafonte had his second session with Capitol Records. Included in the session were Whispering and Farewell to Arms. With eight tunes then recorded and little enthusiasm from record buyers, Capitol decided to part company with Belafonte by not renewing the singer’s contract. He went to RCA Victor in April, 1952.

• 1952 ~ Jimmy Boyd reached the #1 spot on the record charts with the Christmas song of the year, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

• 1957 ~ Billy (Steven) Bragg, Songwriter, guitarist, singer

• 1966 ~ Chris Robinson, Singer with The Black Crowes

• 1972 ~ Jack Albertson and Sam Levine starred as two retired vaudevillians in Neil Simon’s classic comedy, The Sunshine Boys, which opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in NYC. The play had a run of 538 performances. The movie version later became a box office smash, as well.

• 1973 ~ Singer Bobby Darin passed away following open-heart surgery at the age of 37. He left a legacy of memories in rock ’n’ roll and pop tunes, as well as on television and in movies (even an Oscar nomination for his role in Captain Newman, M.D.). The story of Darin being groomed to replace Frank Sinatra at Capitol Records is absolutely true. Unfortunately, Capitol didn’t think the grooming was going so well and withheld many of Darin’s songs for many years; releasing them in a compilation CD in 1995. Good stuff to listen to: Splish Splash, Queen of the Hop, Dream Lover, Mack the Knife, Beyond the Sea, If I Were a Carpenter, etc. At the end, Darin, who had recorded for Atco, Capitol and Atlantic Records had just begun recording for Motown.

• 1980 ~ Shirley Temple Black became a grandmother. Her oldest daughter gave birth to a baby girl.

• 1999 ~ Hank Snow passed away

• 2000 ~ Roebuck “Pops” Staples, patriarch of the Staple Singers whose lyrics on “Respect Yourself” and other hits delivered a civil rights message with a danceable soul beat, passed away. “They took this really positive message music and made it contemporary and popular by putting it with electric guitars and inserting a groove,” said Sherman Wilmott, who is helping create a museum in Memphis, Tennessee, honoring the musical stars at Stax Records, the Staple Singers’ principal label. Born in Winona, Mississippi, Staples learned to sing acapella and developed his Delta blues electric guitar style. Starting out as a gospel group in 1948, the Staple Singers with son Pervis and daughters Mavis and Cleotha as singers reached an even wider audience with 1970s soul hits such as Respect Yourself, I’ll Take You There and If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me). Before achieving stardom, Staples resisted taking his family on tour and held jobs in Chicago’s stockyards and steel mills. Staples came to believe he could contribute in song to the battle for blacks’ civil rights being waged by the Rev. Martin Luther King and others, Wilmott said. “He sang and played guitar. He was extremely well- spoken and calm and intelligent,” he said. Another daughter, Yvonne, told the Tribune: “When Dr. King started preaching, Pops said ‘I think we can sing it.’ That’s what he felt,” she said. “He believed that the world could be made a better place for all of us.” At age 80, Staples won a Grammy Award as a solo artist in 1994 for his album “Father Father.” He also received a National Heritage Fellowship Award at the White House from first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The group entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. In a 1998 interview with the Tribune, Staples said his musical education began early. “We’d come home and didn’t have anything to do after we eat but go to bed. So we’d go out in the yard and sing.”

• 2000 ~ Rob Buck, lead guitarist for the rock band 10,000 Maniacs, died of liver failure at the age of 42, three weeks after he collapsed at his home in western New York.

OCMS 2004 ~ Blues singer-guitarist Son Seals, one of the most distinctive voices to emerge in the genre during the 1970s, died at the age of 62.
More information about Son Seals

OCMS 2004 ~ Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi, one of the great post-World War II opera divas who Arturo Toscanini said had the “voice of an angel,” died at the age of 82.
More information about Renata Tebaldi

Will You Be Going to the Circus This Spring?

A small break from Christmas music since we been to the Big Apple Circus several times both here and in New York.  The Big Apple is bringing its one-ring circus show to National Harbor March 8 through April 1, 2018.

 

big-apple

In New York:  Back on the subway to the Lincoln Center for the Big Apple Circus.  We’d seen them a couple times here but Michael had never seen them.  On the grounds of the Lincoln Center, everything is under the tents where here, much is outside.

We found that Michael had bought tickets in the VIP Seating & Lounge.  This included:

  • The best seats in the tent! First row, center ringside
  • Private Concierge
  • Complimentary Circus Meal – includes hot dog, soda and choice of popcorn or cotton candy
  • Cheese, vegetable and fruit crudite
  • Juice, water, wine, and beer
  • Dessert
  • Souvenir Book (We didn’t get this!)
  • Private restrooms (They called this the Golden Restroom)
  • Coat rack
  • Photo ops as you try on our circus costumes and hats
  • Close-up magician who did card tricks with us

THE GRAND TOUR is a circus extravaganza set in the 1920s and featuring acts from the four corners of the globe. Ships, trains, automobiles, and airplanes will serve as the backdrop for breathtaking acts of wonder, accompanied by the seven-piece Big Apple Circus Band playing live at each of more than 100 performances. Acts will include clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and aerialists, from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America, as well as domestic and rescue animals, all creating performances that will leave audiences smiling and cheering. The show runs 1 hour and 50 minutes including a 20-minute intermission.

I was glad to see the ringmaster, John Kennedy Kane, was back.  The last time we went here at home, there had been a female ringmaster.

There were so many neat acts and we were right there, front and center, to see them.  Some of the acts seemed like they would land in our laps.

This is one of the clown acts:

A sample of some of the other acts.  I loved the Wheel of Wonder, about 1:20:

And, a short TV interview:

This video is so cool – “Our performers give a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to perform under the Big Top! Get your tickets today and see the joy and wonder of this season’s show for yourself!

WINDJAMMERS

Circus marches are called “screamers” because they are traditionally so high, loud & fast!! Circus Band members are often called “windjammers” because they jam so much wind into their instruments in the process of playing these screamers. Playing the circus requires incredible endurance & skills on your instrument. The windjammers play almost none stop and much of the music is really difficult!

The greatest circus bands were about 100 years ago in the heyday of the circus. At that time the big top band could be 25 or so, plus there were often sideshow musicians as well. Cowboy bands, women’s bands and bands of Blacks were often part of the sideshows.

Contemporary circuses are much smaller all the way around, and some don’t use live musicians at all, just “canned” music (recordings). Others carry 3 musicians, a drummer, a trumpet player and a keyboard (synthesizer) player. A few, like the Big Apple Circus, still have bands. The Big Apple Circus has 8 musicians on its bandstand: a conductor/trumpet, a person who plays alto sax and clarinet, one who plays tenor sax and flute, a violin, a trombone, a bass player, a keyboard player and a drummer.

In the “old days,” being a circus musician was one of the most strenuous jobs a musician could have. In the days before musicians’ unions, the windjammer would be expected to play for the circus parade, play a pre-show free concert for the townspeople, ballyhoo around the grounds before the big top show, play the show itself (nonstop for two or three hours!), play post show concerts on the grounds or play sideshows. Then after everyone left, they helped take down the tents or do other chores around the grounds. It was a busy day and the pay was not very good, but it was an exciting life with lots of great music, and many musicians loved it!

THE MUSIC

Entry of the Gladiators (Thunder and Blazes) was written in 1897 by, the Czechoslovakian composer, Julius Fucik (1872-1916). This march is a classic circus march & one that just about everyone will think, “Ah, circus!” when they hear it. Thunder and Blazes (as it is most frequently called) and Fucik’s Florentiner March are probably his most well known marches.

Most circus marches follow the standard American military march form, but often abbreviated (no repeats in the second half):

  • Introduction (a bit longer than military marches)
  • First strain (repeated)
  • Second strain (repeated)
  • Trio (more mellow and the key changes)
  • Breakup strain (often called the dogfight in military marches)
  • Last strain

In a circus march, the last strain is often the same as the trio, but louder, and often the trio, breakup strain and last strain are not repeated like they are in a military march (in military marches, the trio and breakup strain are often reversed & the way they repeat may vary).

The music sets the scene for the performer’s act. Different music is needed for different kinds of acts: the bareback riders galloping around the hippodrome need a lively tune, the trapeze artists want something more peaceful, and of course the clowns need music that sounds humorous (like trombone smears!).

In the early days of the circus, the band masters would take some of the European classical music and arrange it for the circus band. “The most obvious example would be the beautiful, flowing waltz music that is essential to the trapeze artists (‘flyers’ and ‘catchers’). The bandmaster and musicians must be precise in coordinating the music and the timing of the artists, requiring rehearsal with the artists and the musicians.  Similarly, it may be interesting to note that the bareback riders perform in a smaller ring because of the gait of the horses. The centrifugal effect requires a ring of a certain diameter for timing. Thus, the conductor must follow the gait of the horses, whereas the aerialists depend on the tempo of the music for timing their act.”

Modern circuses also play a lot of popular tunes, jazz and other songs that people will recognize. You will likely hear fewer of the standard circus marches at a circus today.

The drummer has a particularly challenging and important role in the circus music. He/she must “play the tricks.” Usually the drummer is situated so that he can see the ring because it is his job to accent and intensify what is happening in the ring. This was true 100 years ago, and it is true today. If the act is getting tense, the drummer will get intense. If someone slides down a rope or vaults off the trampoline, there will be a cymbal crash or drum hit when the performer reaches the floor. Sometimes the cues come from the conductor or from the ringmaster, but sometimes it is the drummer who is really in charge!

Circus bands occasionally play a John Philip Sousa composition during the traditional Center Ring Concert, but his melodic marches are not the right structure for most circus acts.

Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is never part of the regular program. It is reserved for emergency use – sometimes called the “Disaster March”. If a major problems happens — an animal gets loose, a high wind threatens the tent, or a fire breaks out — the band plays the march as warning signal to every worker on the circus lot that something is wrong.

(Click here for information on the Hartford fire of 1944)

For lesser problems, the 12th Street Rag was played to alert the clowns to come out and divert attention during the more common mishaps.

Edward F. Shevlin describes what goes on in the circus band as follows:

“Our music is usually by Karl King,  Alexander, Fred Jewell, C. E. Duble and other old time circus bandmasters and musicians.  Much of the music by these circus musician-composers is amenable to quick cut-offs and tempo changes as necessary to fit particular acts. Hence, Windjammers usually play two musicians to a stand so that when the conductor cuts to a new piece and tempo, one musician can quickly move the music to expose the next piece while the other continues without skipping a beat! We might quickly go from a march to a Samba or rhumba or galop; or from a waltz to an up-tempo march or galop for the “come down” when the aerialists quickly descend into the net or slide down a rope at the conclusion of their act . . .followed by that ubiquitous B-flat chord! The old circus bands would play anything from Ragtime to a Polonaise or a tone poem!”

*Information from an email from Edward F. Shevlin, a Windjammer who happened upon this page! Many thanks, Mr. Shevlin!

THE BANDWAGON

ParadeWagon

When the circus came to town, there was always a circus parade — the parade served to get the wagons filled with people, equipment, baggage, tents and animals to the location of the circus, but it also provided some free advertisement. The wagons were very elaborate & were intended to get people interested in the circus so they would come and see the acts. The band road on top of a bandwagon and inside the bandwagon was luggage, tents and other necessities.

Hey, have you ever heard the term, “jump on the bandwagon”? Here’s the story. In 1848, when Zachary Taylor won the Whig party nomination for president, Dan Rice, a famous clown whose attire inspired the image of Uncle Sam, invited Mr. Taylor to ride on the bandwagon that Dan Rice had. When the bandwagon arrived at the center of town, Dan Rice stopped his parade and made a very emotional speech supporting Zachary Taylor’s candidacy. Someone noted that Dan Rice was on Mr. Taylor’s bandwagon and the term stuck, so that to jump on the bandwagon means to get involved with whatever the issue is. “He jumped on the ecology bandwagon.” “She is definitely on the civil rights bandwagon.”

Below you will find some links to pictures of bandwagons.

PT Barnum’s Bandwagon http://www.vintageviews.org/vv-3/t_land/pages/trl02_002.html

Windjammers in a Bandwagon http://www.circusparade.com/album/albmusic.htm

Pawnee Bill Bandwagon No. 80 http://www.circusparade.com/wagons/w_pawnee.htm

The Columbia Bandwagon– purchased by James Bailey for the Barnum & Bailey Circus — and see this wagon hitched to FORTY horses!!! The picture including the wagon & the band is at the bottom of the page.

The Mirror Bandwagon http://www.circusmodelbuilders.org/twohemis.htm

A clown marching band (Baraboo, WI High School) http://www.circusparade.com/album/albpic22.htm

THE CALLIOPE

Most people pronounce this instrument “cal eye’ o pee”. Circus people pronounce it “cal’ ee ope” (last syllable like “rope”). What is a calliope?? It is a huge instrument made of whistles with a steam engine that blows steam through the whistles when you press the key. Most calliopes are played with a keyboard like a piano keyboard & each key controls one whistle. It is LOUD!!!! Some can be heard up to 3 – 5 miles! Don’t stand too close to one!

The calliope traditionally brought up the rear in a circus parade.

Here is a picture of an early calliope – this one is not on wheels like a circus instrument would be. http://mmd.foxtail.com/Calliope/index.html

Go to this site to see an instrument built recently and see how it works. http://mmd.foxtail.com/Calliope/davis.html

 

SUPERSTITIONS!

Most performing entities have some superstitions. One of the superstition in circus bands is that you can not play Franz von Suppe’s Light Cavalry March. Quoting from Mr. Beal’s book:

“To play it on the circus lot means disaster and sudden death.”You may not believe this but most circus folks do, at least those who know the facts. Played once in Oklahoma, a train wreck followed and sixteen were killed. Played again, this time while [Merle] Evans was on tour with Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Wild West, a blowdown followed and 38 fatalities resulted. [A blow down is a wind that destroys all or part of the tents.]

“And the last time Merle played it a cornet player died immediately after the performance. That was enough for Evans. He collected the parts, tied them up in a neat bundle, and dropped them over the nearest bridge…

“From that day to this the music of Suppe’s Light Cavalry march is taboo. Even its presence in the music trunk would be considered a serious menace to the life and safety of the circus musicians.”

A second superstition about the music played, is that the only time you can play Home Sweet Home is during the very last performance of the season, the very last song. Otherwise it could mean the immediate closing of the show.

Information from:
Beal, George Brinton. Through the Back Door of the Circus with George Brinton Beal. Springfield, Massachusetts: McLoughlin Bros., Inc., 1938. p. 1-20.

Some important Windjammers and composers of circus music

Links to other Circus Band Websites

Definitions & Explanations

Screamers – Circus marches are called screamers because they are so loud, fast & often very high!

Windjammers – Circus musicians are often called windjammers because they jam so much wind into their instruments in the process of playing these screamers.

Ballyhooing – The dictionary defines the verb “ballyhoo” as a vigorous attempt to win customers. When not playing, the musicians went around the grounds & the town shouting about the circus & trying to get people to come see it. Ex: “Come to the circus tonight! See flying trapeze artists and the ….”

Hippodrome – The hippodrome is the track around the inside of the ring where the horses were run.

Trombone Smears – Smear refers both to a trombone technique and to a type of music. The technique (officially called a glissando) where the trombonist pulls the slide in or out without tonguing and you get a smearing sound as the notes move up or down, rather than a distinct set of individual notes. Smear also refers a type of music that includes and features these smear techniques. These pieces are often used as clown music. Henry Fillmore wrote many trombone smears and they had an African-American minstrel sound to them.

Adapted from http://bandnotes.info/tidbits/circus.htm

December 15 ~ This Day in Music History

hanukkah

Hanukkah
Hanukkah Music
Hanukkah Music Lyrics

 

Hanukkah 2017 began at sunset (4:48 at the O’Connor Music Studio) on Tuesday, December 12 and ends on Wednesday, December 20.

Christmas Music: The First Noel

• 1910 ~ John Hammond, American jazz critic

• 1922 ~ Alan Freed, American disc jockey

• 1939 ~ One of the most celebrated motion pictures of all time, Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable was premiered in Atlanta to critical acclaim. The picture ran for close to four hours.

 

 

• 1941 ~ A musical standard was recorded this day on Victor Records. Lena Horne sang the torch classic that became her signature: Stormy Weather. “Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky. Stormy weather…”

 

• 1942 ~ Dave Clark, British rock drummer and singer

• 1943 ~ Fats (Thomas Wright) Waller died at the age of 39 from pneumonia.  He was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano

More information about Waller

 

 

• 1944 ~ Glenn Miller passed away when his plane disappeared over the English Channel. Major Glenn Miller was on his way to lead his Air Force Band in a Christmas concert.

• 1954 ~ Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter was featured on Walt Disney’s TV series for the first time. Crockett was played by Fess Parker. It wasn’t long before the Davy Crockett craze brought a new number one song to the pop music charts. “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”

• 1962 ~ The first record album to poke fun at a U.S. President became the #1 LP in the country. Vaughn Meader’s The First Family made the humorist a household word. The album stayed at #1 for three months.

• 1984 ~ Jan Peerce passed away

• 1986 ~ Violinist Isaac Stern arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to cut the ribbon for the renovated Carnegie Hall in New York City.

• 1986 ~ Kenny Rogers cut himself a deal with the Dole Food Company. The singer became the highest-paid celebrity pitchman, ‘doling’ out nice words about pineapple and other Dole products for 17 million dollars.

• 2000 ~ Revered conjunto musician Valerio Longoria, who taught accordion to children in San Antonio for many years, died at the age of 76. Musicians and friends remembered the master accordionist as an innovator and influential stylist of conjunto music, a Texas-based rhythm fueled by the accordion and the bajo sexto, a 12-string Spanish bass guitar. As a teenager, Longoria played weddings and parties in Harlingen. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and at the end of World War II was stationed in Germany, where he managed to get an accordion and play in nightclubs. In 1945, he moved to San Antonio, where he began recording for Corona Records. Longoria was among the first inductees into the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame in 1982, and in 1986 he received the National Heritage Award, the nation’s highest honor for folk artists.

• 2001 ~ Rufus Thomas, a musician whose Bear Cat helped Sun Records get its start and whose Funky Chicken gave a boost to the Stax Label, died at the age of 84. Rufus Thomas was best known for novelty dance recordings like Walking the Dog, Do the Funky Chicken and Push and Pull. He began tap dancing on the streets of Memphis for tips and performed in amateur shows in high school. In the 1940s, Thomas ran his own Beale Street amateur show that attracted B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland and many other performers who went on to become famous. In his declining years, Thomas took on the title of Beale Street ambassador and liked to refer to himself as the world’s oldest teen- ager. In 1953, Thomas recorded Bear Cat, an answer to Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog, and it became Sun Record’s first hit. That was before Elvis Presley arrived on the scene to become Sun’s undisputed star. Thomas complained in later years that Sun’s black artists were pushed aside after Presley’s success. In the 1960s, Thomas became one of the founding performers for Stax Records, which created what came to be known as “the Memphis sound,” with performers like Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.

• 2002 ~ John Crosby, founder and longtime former general director of the Santa Fe Opera, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a brief illness. He was 76. Crosby founded the Santa Fe Opera in 1957 and was its general director until his retirement at the end of the 2000 season. After his military service during World War II, Crosby majored in music theory at Yale and studied under composer Paul Hindemith, whom Crosby later brought to Santa Fe for the 1961 U.S. premiere of Hindemith’s opera News of the Day. Crosby also had worked as a Broadway arranger and studied at Columbia University in New York before making his move to found an opera company in Santa Fe. With $200,000 in financing from his father, Crosby purchased a ranch seven miles north of Santa Fe and oversaw construction of a 480-seat, open-air theater. The inaugural performance July 3, 1957, was Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. With the participation of Igor Stravinsky, early Santa Fe seasons gained world attention. Stravinsky brought music to the 1957 through 1963 seasons. His last night as both conductor and general director was Aug. 24, 2000, when he led Richard Strauss’ Elektra. Former President Bush presented Crosby a National Medal of Arts in 1991. He also received an Officer’s Cross of the Federal German Order of Merit in 1992 for his service to German music.

• 2002 ~ Rick Chase, a morning radio personality for KWIN-FM of Stockton, was found dead in his apartment. He was 45. Chase was best known for his work at KMEL-FM in San Francisco from 1986 to 1998. He also worked at KFRC-FM and KITS-FM in the Bay Area, KNVQ-FM in Reno and KZZO-FM in Sacramento. Chase, a 20-year radio veteran known to his listeners for his bombastic on-air personality, had worked at KWIN for two years.

• 2002 ~ Washington, DC Area: The storied history and sweeping skyline of US Airways Arena ended in a billowing cloud of dust Sunday morning as technicians reduced it to rubble with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. Almost 200 people, some of whom grew up watching sports and cultural events at the arena, gathered hundreds of yards away in the chill morning to say goodbye to the piece of 20th-century Washington’s history just outside the Capital Beltway. A shopping center will replace it. The arena began life in 1973 as the Capital Centre, a state-of-the-art architectural gem. In the ensuing decades, it housed the Washington Bullets basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team and held concerts by Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti. “I remember seeing the Washington Bullets when they were really good and the Caps when they were really bad, as well as Prince and Tina Turner,” said Stewart Small, who grew up near the arena and now lives in Alexandria, Va. “I know it’s not Ebbets Field, but it had a lot of memories for me.” Crews used about 400 pounds of dynamite at 500 locations to do the job. In just over 15 seconds, the stadium that took 15 months to build caved into a cloud of light brown dust. Some in the crowd cheered, but most were silent. A few were teary-eyed as dust soared above where the 18,000-seat arena had stood. The arena opened Dec. 2, 1973, to a sellout crowd that watched the Bullets beat the Seattle SuperSonics 98-96. It has had no regular clients since the NBA Bullets, now Wizards, and the NHL Capitals moved to the MCI Center downtown.

December 2 ~ This Day in Music History

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Christmas Music: Joy To The World

• 1774 ~ Johann Friedrich Agricola, German composer, organist, singer, pedagogue, and writer on music.

• 1856 ~ Robert Kajanus, Finnish conductor and composer

• 1899 ~ Sir John Barbirolli, British conductor and cellist

• 1914 ~ Eddie Sauter, Drummer, trumpeter, composer, orchestra leader of the Sauter- Finegan Orchestra, arranger for Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw

• 1916 ~ Charlie Ventura, Tenor sax, played with Gene Krupa, Stan Kenton,Charlie Parker, Count Basie, band leader

• 1917 ~ Sylvia Syms, Singer, ‘world’s greatest saloon singer’

• 1918 ~ Milton DeLugg, Bandleader on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; Milton DeLugg and His Orchestra: Abe Burrows’ Almanac, The Chuck Barris Rah Rah Show, Dagmar’s Canteen, Doodles Weaver, The Gong Show, Judge for Yourself, Your Hit Parade; played accordion in The Milton DeLugg Quartet and songwriter

• 1928 ~ Jörg Demus, Austrian pianist

• 1934 ~ Billy Paul (Paul Williams), Singer

• 1941 ~ Tom McGuinness, Bass, guitar with Manfred Mann; McGuinness Flint; and Blues Band

• 1942 ~ Ted Bluechel, Jr., Singer, drummer with The Association

• 1944 ~ Eric Bloom, Singer, guitarist

• 1945 ~ John Densmore, Musician with The Doors

• 1952 ~ Michael McDonald, Singer, songwriter, keyboard with The Doobie Brothers

• 1960 ~ Rick Savage, Bass with Def Leppard

• 1972 ~ Motown’s Temptations reached the #1 spot on the top 40 charts with Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone. It was the fourth #1 hit for the Temptations, joining My Girl, I Can’t Get Next to You and Just My Imagination.