Charles "Chuz" Alfred
Charles "Chuz" Alfred began his musical career in the 1940s with his family's band, the Alfred Melody Syncopators. Lou Wilson of the Carolyn Club raved about Chuz when he caught the young tenor sax man playing Stone's Grill in Lancaster. From there it was just a short hop to Kitty's Showbar, which became his homebase. Joined by trombonist Ola Hanson, Chuz and Ola forged a musical partnership based on the shared vision of three-part horn charts and Four Freshman-style vocals. Throughout the 50s, the Chuz Alfred Quintet played all over the east coast, midwest, and into Canada.
Marilyn Daye Beckman
Marilyn Daye, who first sang with the Don Crawford Orchestra at age 17 when he played the Ionian Room of the Deshler-Wallick Hotel, was heard regularly on WBNS radio's "Date With Daye" and "Song Shop" broadcasts. In 1946, as one of 6 winners in a nationwide Tommy Dorsey talent contest, Marilyn went to Hollywood to screen test for a role in "The Fabulous Dorseys." She was featured vocalist with the Don Crawford Orchestra until 1950, while also working with the WBNS Studio Band. In private life, Marilyn was married to the late radio/TV personality "Spook" Beckman. She still makes limited appearances.
R. Theodore "Ted" Boehm
In 1935, Theodore "Ted" Boehm joined The Ohio State University Marching Band as a sousaphone player. A year later, the band incorporated "Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse" into its new formation, Script Ohio, after rejecting "Buckeye Battle Cry" and other tunes because they were too short. Ted maintained a life-long relationship with (and continued to play in) TBDBITL, culminating in his researching and writing articles on the school songs for the marching band history, Script Ohio. As a lawyer and a band booster, Ted was particularly well qualified to research the copyright information for each song, particularly the foreign entanglements involved in "Le Regiment". He died shortly after the book was published in 1989.
Until her retirement in 1982, Vivian Boeshaar and her Hammond organ were a trademark of the Clarmont Restaurant for some 38 years. Many patrons of the Clarmont, under the ownership of Frank Condos and, later, Barry Zachs, originally were drawn by the food, but found themselves returning due to Vivian's gracious presence and warm personality. They knew she would not fail to ensure their evening was an enjoyable one, from honoring song requests and recognizing birthdays to occasional sing-a-longs. Vivian's music provided many dinners with the perfect way to unwind after a long, stress-filled day. Patrons of the Clarmont still ask, "Whatever happened to that lovely lady, Vivian, who played the organ here?"
Co-staring with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, vocalist Madame Rose Brown was the toast of Broadway in "The Hot Mikado", an updated version of the Gilbert & Sullivan greatest operetta. However, she was to spend most of her professional life as a jazz and blues singer, performing in such local spots as the Key West, Tip Top, Roxy, and Club Regal, often with the Al Freeman Trio. Just prior to her death, Madame Rose gave one final performance of "The Hot Mikado", taking her costumes out of storage and singing the songs which had made her a star.
Showcased by Prestige Records as one of the Giants of the Funk Tenor, Royal G. "Rusty" Bryant took Jimmy Forrest's tune "Nite Train" and turned it into an anthem for "honkers, squawkers, and bar-walkers". The product of a musical family, Rusty settled into the Carolyn Club with his own band in 1953. Signed by Dot Records, Rusty Bryant and the Carolyn Club Band made a number of live recordings which capture the fun and excitement of an era. In the late '60s and early '70s, Rusty bounced back as a sideman and a band leader for Prestige Records, scoring his greatest success with "Soul Liberation" in 1971. At the time of his death in 1991, Rusty was working on a gospel album.
The Buzz Saws
In the early 40s, George Chamblin and Staff Taylor attended a barber shop quartet concert in Cleveland and were instant converts to this unique style of harmony singing. Returning to Columbus, they enlisted Dodge Harris and Mort Bobb, fellow Phi Gamma Delta members, to form The Buzz Saws Quartet. Entering their first contest later that year, they placed fifth. When Dodge and Mort dropped out in early 1947, they were replaced by Bruce Lynn and Paul "Snook" Neal. A few weeks later, they competed for the state championship in Dayton and won. The Buzz Saws competed nationally into the middle 50s, frequently placing in the top ten. Other members of the group during its history were John Glass, Arthur Vorys, and Don Vorce.
Vocalist and vocal coach Michele Horsefield Carney has been teaching Columbus how to sing since the 1950s. Everyone from Jeanette Williams and Mimi Rousseau to Meg Murphy and Kelly Crum have come to La Maestra to learn proper singing technique. She has been described by one of her students as the "earth mother of the music community here." A musical prodigy, Michelle Horsefield forsook opera to sing at Cafe Society and Nick's in New York City with Fats Waller, Eddie Condon, and Cliff Jackson. But she left music behind entirely to raise her family. After settling in Columbus, Ms. Horsefield was finally persuaded by her good friend Jim Franck to resume singing once again, and we are all the better for it.
Over the years, Al Cecutti and his accordion have been known to pop up in the most unexpected places, perhaps no more unex- pected than his current "gig" as the accordion playing greeter at Kroger's on Henderson Road. He refers to himself as a "Strolling Troubador". However, Al has been making music since he started learning the accordion at the age of 6 from Bill Petree. As a student at St. Charles, he began playing in earnest and remained active as a performer even while working full time in the bakery business. For more than 40 years, Al has provided musical accompaniment to weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and even a few wakes. He still looks forward to those special occasions when he can break out the old "squeeze box" to add to the celebration.
Charles "Charlie" Cesner
Charles "Charlie" Cesner obtained his musical education at Chicago Music College, then entered radio at WLW in Cincinnati. For 7 years, he was staff organist at WCOL, before entering the service. Returning to Columbus in 1951, Charlie became staff organist at WLW-C TV, while working area clubs and restaurants, including Presutti's and Al Haft's. Apart from his more than 3,000 television appearances with pioneering broadcasters Gene Fullen and Sally Flowers. Cesner's greatest fame had come as organist for Al Haft's wrestling programs. His popularity was such that the crowd would chant "We want Charlie!" with as much enthusiasm as they did Magnificent Maurice, Gorgeous George, and all the rest of the wrestling pantheon. Charlie passed away in 1968.
Jaylene Gray Chatfield
Known professionally as Jaylene Gray, Jaylene Gray Chatfield has sung with every size musical aggregation from duos to big bands. She has been heard locally with such well known musicians as Ray and Henry Cincione, Ralph Craven, Al Myers, Morrie Kline, and Al Waslohn for more than 40 years. Jaylene was featured on the WLW-C Channel 4's "Jack Denton" and "Spook Beckman" shows for several years during the days of "live" television. She was also a member of the vocal group, Tres-Six Chics.
Henry "Hank" Cincione
Henry "Hank" Cincione picked up the trumpet at the age of six, though he later became proficient on the piano and violin as well. His first important job was with the Bert Williams orchestra at Loew's Ohio Theater. In 1932, he joined Rudy Vallee's band, only to return to his hometown two years later. Forming his own band, he played successively at the Arabian Gardens, the Neil House, the Ionian Room in the Deshler-Wallick, the RKO Palace Theater, and the Club Riviera. While at the Beechwold Tavern, his band was heard live three times daily over WAIU radio. Hank's resume also includes stints with the Paul Whiteman, Ted Weems, and Casa Loma Orchestras. He died in 1985.
Co-founder of the Ohio State University Jazz Forum and leader of the Ziggy Coyle Orchestra, William "Ziggy" Coyle is perhaps best-known for his chain of Coyle Music Centers which have been the backbone of high school music education for decades. Ziggy started playing professionally at 15 with Don Crawford's Orchestra. He acquired his nickname, "Ziggy", after Ziggy Elman, featured trumpeter with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Upon graduating from Ohio State in 1948, with a degree in music education, Ziggy set out for New York to set the world on fire. "I thought I was pretty good," he recalls, "but every trumpet player I saw was better than me and half of them were out of work." Returning to Columbus, Ziggy eventually opened what would be the first of a chain of Coyle Music Centers.
Esther Craw has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to transcend generational divisions with her spirited singing and accordion-playing at Deibel's in German Village. Although she originally studied piano as a child, she switched to accordion when her father brought one home, placed it behind a big chair in the living room, and said, "Don't touch it!" At 15, Esther had her own radio show in Utica, New York. During World War II, she toured with USO Camp Shows throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa, performing for front line troops along with Bob Hope and other celebrities. Back in the US, she played all the veterans hospitals, circling the country 3 times, before settling into cocktail lounges in Florida, Texas, Washington, and even Alaska. However, she is best known for her 26 years as the "mascot" of Deibel's.
At the age of 5, little Ethel Mae was already a featured performer on the radio as one of a troupe of "Klever Kiddies". However, it was as Jeanne Cummins, featured vocalist with the Bernie Cummins Band at Chicago's Blackhawk Room that she really began to make people stand up and take notice. Jeanne feels fortunate to have had a career which spanned the tail end of the big band era as well as the era of live television. For many years, she was seen daily over WLW-C on the Dean Miller and the Spook Beckman Shows, providing a touch of class and glamour to the proceedings. Even today, Jeanne takes every opportunity she can find to "sing with the band".
Thomas W. "Tommy" Dale
Long-time president of Local 103 of the American Federation of Musicians, Thomas "Tommy" Dale has long led a double-life, teaching in the Columbus Public Schools from 1949-1979 (and working full time for the union since then) and playing trombone for various musical aggregations, including his own orchestra and combo. Whether its dances, ice shows, musicals, or concerts, Tom seems to always be where the action is. In his spare time, Tom also serves as leader of the Shrine Circus Band and performs with the Jazz Arts Group. During the Korean conflict, he served with the 37th Division Band. Clearly, music has been both his vocation and his avocation all his life.
Eugene C. "Gene" D'Angelo, Jr.
Accomplished on the tuba, string bass, and trombone, Eugene "Gene" D'Angelo was picked up by the Tony Pastor Orchestra while still in high school. Following graduation, he entered Ohio State where he performed in the concert and marching bands, various Strollers and Scarlet Mask productions, and helped found the OSU Jazz Forum. Gene also toured with the likes of Louis Prima and Claude Thornhill, as well as the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus Band. Locally, he has played with Don Crawford, Chuck Selby, George Towne, Jerry Kaye, and Billy Maxted, among others. He has played with the Columbus Symphony, for which he continues to contribute arrangements. Perhaps, his greatest impact on the Columbus musical community, however, has been through his chairmanships of the Columbus Association of the Performing Arts (CAPA) and the Columbus Symphony, helping to raise both organizations to new heights of professionalism.
Dr. Paul E. Droste
Paul Droste first marched in the Ohio State University Marching Band in 1954, as a euphonium player, returning as a graduate assistant in 1961 for one year. In 1966-68, he served as an instructor in the School of Music and as assistant director of the marching band. However, in Spring of 1970, he was summoned from Tucson, Arizona, in the midst of taking his doctoral exams, to interview for the position of director. Under his lengthy tenure, the OSUMB experienced many changes, including expansion in size and the admission of women. Paul retired in 1983. In 1986, he formed the Brass Band of Columbus, quickly propelling it into the upper ranks of nationally known brass bands.
Abraham "Abe" Dworkin
Beginning as a trumpeter with the celebrated Ohio Theatre pit band in the late 20s, Abe Dworkin and his horn became a fixture on the local music scene before going on the road for several years. He moved into the Sherman Hotel's College Inn in Chicago, joining the Art Jarrett Band. Returning to Columbus, he played with Hugo Monaco at the Deshler-Wallick Hotel, as well as with Mac Tooill, Paul Decker, George Boller, and the RKO Palace Orchestra. He concluded his career as a member of the Weedemeir Band. Abe's recollections of the local music scene could well fill a book. He passed away in February, 1998.
Jack Evans directed The Ohio State University Marching Band from 1952 through 1963, founded the OSU Activities Band (a concert band for mostly non-music majors), and in 1986 became the first director of TBDBITL Alumni Club Activity Band, an acronym which never fails to elicit cheers from the knowing and blank stares from everyone else. Jack also had a hand in planting the seeds for the brass band movement in Columbus, from which has sprung the Brass Band of Columbus and The Scioto Valley Brass. He remains an active alumnus of The Ohio State University musical community.
Dr. Robert A. Everhart
In 1949, Robert A. "Doc" Everhart put together a small rehearsal band to play big band music, first in his Bremen Avenue living room, later in the basement, and finally at a dance for White Cross Hospital nurses when the regular band failed to show up. Although they were playing for the fun of it, he decided they really needed to perform in order to keep sharp. So he started throwing parties at Valley Dale three times a year for 800 to 900 invited guests. When Valley Dale closed in 1980, "Doc" Everhart moved the parties to the Aladdin Shrine--and a good thing, too, since Valley Dale could not longer hold the crowds. He still holds his dances at least twice a year, picking up the cost of the hall, the invitations, the recording, and, most importantly, the arrangements himself. The band's theme song since 1952 has been "Pipe Dreams", a tune composed by Cleveland clarinet player, Tommy Reynolds. Note: He has since passed away.
While still a student at The Ohio State University, Richard "Dick" Fidler was a prominent member of Scarlet Mask. Later he formed his own band comprised of his fellow college students, playing an extended run at the Neil House. During the 20s and 30s, the Dick Fidler Orchestra was one of the MCA big bands of the era, traveling all over the eastern United States and frequently performing on NBC radio while the house band at the Hollenden Hotel in Cleveland. Dick was a member of the Young Business Men's Club (YMBC), to which he contributed numerous songs for its annual productions. Dick disbanded his group in 1938, settling in Columbus. Just prior to his death in 1943, he was the featured as pianist at the Hotel Broad-Lincoln.
While a student at OSU, trombonist James "Jimmy" Franck and his band, which included his brother Ken on trumpet, were hired as the houseband at Valley Dale for about a year, and were picked as the top college band in the country, earning an appearance with Bob Crosby and his Bobcats at the Broad Theater. Jim's band teamed up with the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra for a pop concert and later appeared at The Pier at Buckeye Lake. During World War II, Jim became a member of Nelson Riddle's Army Dance Band. Fifty years later, Jim is still making music, drawing his musicians from the ranks of the Jazz Arts Group, Columbus Symphony, and Pro Musica. Beginning in 1988, Jim has also staged concerts in local park, with a repertoire ranging from Hank Williams to, of course, Nelson Riddle. Note: Jimmy has since passed away.
Roger Garrett, resident organist at the Ohio Theatre from 1933 to 1942, is remembered not only for his mastery of the famed "Mighty Morton" Theatre organ, but also his rollicking "Sing-A-Long" audience participation sequences. He embodied not only musical talent, but true showmanship. During World War II, Roger joined the Marines and played with the Bob Crosby Orchestra. Returning to Columbus, he became staff organist at WBNS radio from 1946 to 1948, and opened the University Theater as manager and organist in 1947. Later, he joined WBNS-TV as organist, pianist, and production assistant, before moving on to become general manager of WBOY television and radio in Clarksburg, West Virginia. From 1961 to 1963, he served as mayor of Clarksburg. He died in 1989.
Hank, Slim, and Bob Newman--The Georgia Crackers--were originally from Macon, Georgia, but got their start in radio on WBT, Charlotte, North Carolina. Singing western, folk, and popular music in the manner of The Sons of the Pioneers. After relocating to Cleveland then Minneapolis, The Georgia Crackers finally landed in Columbus in 1931, and it became their home base. For nearly a quarter of a century, The Georgia Crackers, along with vocalist Donna Newman (Hank's wife) and instrumentalist Al Myers, were a part of the local radio scene, including two years in which their Mutual Network broadcast was heard over 484 stations each Saturday morning. As the Georgia Crackers, Hank, Bob, and Slim were featured in four "Durango Kid" films, starring Charles Starrett and Smiley Burnett. In the 50s, Hank operated the popular "Frontier Ranch" concert site which helped many an "unknown" performer along the road to country music stardom. The Newman brothers have all passed away.
Salvatore "Sam" Giammarco
Widely regarded by his peers as a trumpet virtuoso, Sam Giammarco was an original member of the famous Ohio Theatre pit band's five man brass section. Under the baton of conductor Bert Williams, the Ohio Theatre band had its heyday during the late '20s and '30s. Sam also was the principal trumpet with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and a member of the Ohio National Guard Band. However, it was as the premier trumpet teacher in Central Ohio that Sam made his greatest contribution to the local music community. A shy man who, nonetheless, had many friends, he is remembered by his students as much for his patience and understanding as his impeccable technique. His career was cut short by his death in 1965.
Dr. George R. Haddad
Professor Emeritus of Piano at The Ohio State University, George R. Haddad is renowned the world over for his keyboard artistry. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music (where he earned the first of four degrees at the age of 13), George has also studied at Julliard Graduate School and the Paris Conservatoire. Among the orchestras with which he has performed are the Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo, Cleveland, Luxembourg, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Regina, and Columbus Symphonies. He is also active in adjudicating many international competitions. George Haddad was awarded the "Prix de Canada" by his native country and, in 1986, was honored by Ohio State University through the establishment of the George Haddad scholarship in music.
When George Hardesty arrived in Columbus in 1940 to teach conducting and violin at the OSU School of Music, the city did not have a symphony orchestra. Consequently, he helped organize the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra in 1941, which continued until 1949, while also serving as conductor of University Symphony Orchestra. In 1951, George organized the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (originally the Columbus Little Symphony) and was its first conductor, stepping down in 1955 to assume the duties of concert master and assistant conductor, positions he held for the next 25 years. Even then he continued performing with his beloved symphony as 2nd violinist, until his retirement in 1992-1993 season. George is the only surviving member of the original Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Formed in a janitor closet at the Curtiss-Wright plant in 1941, this well-known vocal group embarked upon a USO tour, traveling by special car from Columbus to Washington DC in December, 1944. They performed at a number of hospitals, including Walter Reed, and sang with Buddy Rich and the US Navy Band. During the late '40s, The Harmonaires could be heard coast-to-coast on WLW every Sunday on the "Circle Arrow Show", sponsored by Western Auto, and every Thursday on the "Sunnyside Review" and were guests on the Fred Allen, Ed Sullivan, and Henry Morgan radio shows out of New York City, and, ultimately, featured roles in the movie, "One Too Many" with Ruth Warwick. The Harmonaires remained active throughout the '50s, '60s, and into the '70s, performing at the Riviera, Everglades, and Gloria. The members of the Harmonaires were: Ragland R. Reid (director), Harold "Ham" Clark (pianist), Ray Redman, J. Leroy "Curley" Bowen, David Newlin, Fugate Foster Page, J. Calvin Ward, Edward Ritchey, George Boswell, Charles Rickman, Walter Willis, Harris Steele, Lawrence McGhee, and Bowland Mansfield.
Richard "Dick" Heine
If any one person can be credited with creating the "sound" of the Ohio State Marching Band it is Dick Heine, who over the years contributed many fine arrangements to the "Pride" of The Ohio State University. However, he is also fondly remembered as a talented clarinetist, first as a member of the WBNS radio's Studio Band during the 40s, and later with The Nightcappers, WBNS television's live trio (along with organist Roger Garrett and drummer Joe Dobbins), of the early 50s. For many years, Dick could also be heard performing with Walter Knick's quartet at the Jai Lai Restaurant, and he even managed to do some limited teaching on the side. But it is his association with the OSU Marching Band, culminating in the 1978 album "Hats Off To Heine", for which he will live on.
Donald Hennen, better known as Don Crawford, drew many of his musicians from the ranks of the Ft. Hayes Base Band. During World War II, the 5th Service Command of the Army operated Ft. Hayes as an induction center and many of the musicians moon- lighted with Crawford's aggregation. Hennen, who managed an Ohio National Bank by day, kept to Glenn Miller-stylings, which got him work at such places as Valley Dale and the Deshler-Wallick, as well as numerous fraternity and sorority parties. His favorite vocalist was Hall-of-Famer Marilyn Daye. Note: Don has since passed away.
In 1917, Earl Hood, who doubled on the violin and bass sax, landed his first professional job, playing for Tom Howard in a three piece combo. Soon he had hooked up with Parker's Popular Players, which included among their number a piano player with big ideas, Sammy Stewart. When Sammy broke away from Parker's Popular Players to form Sammy Stewart and his Singing Syncopators, Earl went with him. He recognized that he could learn a lot from the talented musician/arranger. In 1924, Earl started his own group, The Oriental Knights. Earl Hood's Orchestra is best known for its years of service as the houseband at Valley Dale. They first played there in 1926, and inn 1939 or 40, were booked again, remaining until 1951, although Earl had quit performing some six months earlier on New Year's Eve due to a "serious" health problem. Ironically, Earl was to live another 41 years.
Originally a violinist who grew up in nearby Lancaster (where he was a member of the Alfred Melody Syncopators), Fritz Hummel taught himself to play the trombone and, along with Pee Wee Hunt, became a member of the Casa Loma Orchestra in the 1930s, a cooperative band fronted by the handsome Glen Gray. Fritz was with the band during the height of its popularity, playing Atlantic City's Steel Pier, the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, and the Essex House in New York City. It was while at the Essex House that they began a 3 year run on the "Camel Caravan" radio program and later on the "Burns and Allen" show. Paul Whiteman, who heard Fritz at Valley Dale, promptly hired him for his own band. Fritz died suddenly in 1946.
Long a household word in Columbus, pianist and band leader Walter Knick formed the original WBNS radio orchestra with Paul Neal, broadcasting live daily during the "wake-up" hours. With the advent of television, Walter appeared on Channel 10's "Sharp Comments" (with the late Fern Sharp), as well as "Lucy's Toy Shop". However, it was his long running engagements at the Neil House, Jai Lai (both the High Street and Olentangy River Rd. locations), Presutti's Villa, and, finally, Top Steak House for which he might be best remembered. Walter died in 1980.
Until his death in 1987, Lee Knoll was not only one of the best-known teachers of guitar in Central Ohio, but also one of the most respected (and in demand) sidemen and soloists for over 30 years. His career dates back to the WBNS radio orchestra, which was a virtual "Who's Who" of local musicians. Lee was also a member of the popular Joe Marlee Trio. However, his most enduring legacy is the many students who not only learned guitar, but also devotion to music, from this master of the instrument.
A former chairman of the Ohio parole board, tenor saxman Percy Lowery also found time to lead his own bands during the 20s, 30s, and 40s, beginning with the Snappy Four. From a personnel standpoint, Percy's bands could hardly be bettered, with veterans of such name bands as Horace Henderson, Zack Whyte, Speed Webb, Erskine Tate, and Don Redman. They found an appreciative audience among the fraternities and sororities of Ohio State and elsewhere. Percy passed away in 1967.
Henry "Hank" Marr
Dubbed "The Little Professor", Henry "Hank" Marr, a self-taught keyboard virtuoso and anchor of the Jazz Arts Group, has recorded seven albums and, for 10 years, served as musical director for comedian George Kirby. His long-standing musical partnership with Rusty Bryant gave birth to some of the most exciting recordings to ever come out of Columbus, including the classic "Live at the 502". Although originally a pianist, Hank was playing a club in Atlantic City in the early 50s when Rusty came rushing in from a break, saying, "Man, you gotta check out this guy playing a few doors down," As Hank later recalled, "Turned out it was Jimmy Smith playing organ, and I'm telling you that was it for me, I knew right then and there I had to play that instrument. I just loved that sound." Hank's mastery of the Hammond B-3 has earned him fans all over the world. He is currently associate professor of jazz studies at OSU.
Howard "Howdie" Mauger
Trumpeter, arranger, and band leader Howard "Howdie" Mauger was still in high school when he caught the attention of Paul Decker (and later Charlie Spivak) with some of his arrangements. In 1935, Decker hired him to accompany a band he was putting together under the direction of Art Jarrett to play Chicago's Blackhawk Restaurant. However, when the band was "stolen" from Decker, Howdie returned to Columbus and worked with Decker until he started college. In addition to playing in the Ohio State University Marching Band, he worked with the John McGeary, Benny Cash, Milburn "Smitty" Smith, Joe Weisberg, and WBNS radio bands. He then started his own band which became the houseband at Valley Dale in 1936-1937. After the war, Howdie again started his own small band, after a couple of years changing to a "danceable Dixieland" format which he continues to this day through frequent bookings.
John A. "Jack" McAndrews
John A. "Jack" McAndrews began taking piano lessons at the age of five, gradually expanding to violin and organ. His first regular professional job was providing piano accompaniment for silent movies in a Theatre on Fifth Avenue. Jack dubbed his first band (7 pieces) The Pirates and dressed them in appropriate costumes. At the height of the big band era, Jack organized his own dance band, drawing on musicians from the ranks of OSU students, over 40 of whom were helped to pay their tuition in this manner. This band performed regularly at Valley Dale, but was parti- cularly well-known for its long-running engagement as a "Society Band" at the State Restaurant, where is was heard regularly on the radio. At an age when most people are settling into retirement, Jack organized the original Golden Buckeye Band at the Janis Senior Citizen Center and later the Jack McAndrews Big Band of Senior Citizens. Although he died in 1988, he is far from forgotten by those whose lives he touched.
Harland T. "Raleigh" Randolph
Known to many as "Ol' Boss", Harland T. "Raleigh" Randolph , vocalist and bass player was long-time leader of The Sultans of Swing and 1983 inductee into the Jazz Hall of Fame sponsored by the National Black Culture Society and Alabama State Council of the Arts and Humanities. Having been intro- duced to the bass fiddle by his father, Raleigh began to travel with Zack Whyte out of Cincinnati, was picked up by the Whit- man Sisters, then jumped to Silas Green from New Orleans, a tent show in which he played the straight man. When World War II intervened, he took a day job and led the 16 piece Band With the Atomic Swing at night. Raleigh and his group worked at the El Cairo and Club Litchford in Columbus, and also traveled up and down the East Coast and through the South, sharing the bill with Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, Pearl Bailey, and the King Cole Trio, and with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, Una May Carlisle, and Wynonie Harris as part of The Swing Parade of 1946. He died in 1995.
For 50 years, Lowell Riley was the driving force behind Vaud-Villities, the amateur musical extravaganza, of which he was a co-founder and musical director, while simultaneously serving as organist and minister of music at First Community Church during much of that time. Born in Ashley, Ohio, he took a degree in music from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1934, and found employment at WBNS radio for the next 12 years as organist, piano player, and singer. Throughout the years, Lowell has directed choruses for Ohio Bell, Lazarus, Nationwide Insurance, YMBC (Young Business- man's Club), and Childhood League, among others. Perhaps, no other local figure has had as large an impact on local theater-goers and choral music lovers as Mr. Riley. Riley started Vaud-Villities in 1943 with Dr. Robert J. Murphy (with whom he performed a popular twin-piano act), and served as executive director and music director for five decades. He passed away on November 28, 1998.
For the last 13 years of his life until his death in 1986, violinist, conductor, and composer David Rubinoff made Columbus his home. Born in Russia before the turn of the century, he was admitted into Poland's Royal Conservatory of Music at the age of 9, graduating 5 years later. Victor Herbert, conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, was so im- pressed by the 14 year old's talent that he brought him to the United States where he attended Forbes School (rooming with John Philip Sousa). Soon, David was a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony and conductor and soloist at New York's Paramount Theater. However, it was in the '30s that his fame really grew when he became conductor and soloist on such radio programs as the Chase & Sanborn hour (featuring Eddie Cantor), and the Rexall, Pebeco, and Chevrolet programs. This led to roles in movies, appearances at the White House, and a famed concert in 1937 for a quarter of a million people in Chicago's Grant Park. Until the end of his life, David continued to practice 4 hours a day on his "magic violin" and was available to play concert halls or Columbus school classrooms at a moment's notice and without pay.
In 1932, Charles "Chuck" Selby formed his first band. His motto was to become "Smooth Music -- Smartly Styled", but what Chuck did perhaps as well as anybody around was to tailor the music to suit his audience. Although this frustrated the aspirations of many musicians who passed through his band, they all grant that he had a good head for business. He was the perfect choice to manage Valley Dale through the transitional period from big band music to rock and roll, ensuring that the venerable dance hall continued to have a life when many others were being torn down. The Chuck Selby Orchestra, with vocalist (and wife) Anne Young, was heard, over the years, in such diverse settings as Buckeye Lake's Pier Ballroom, Castle Farms, Don McNeill's "Breakfast Club", the Ionian Room at the Deshler-Wallick (where he originated frequent CBS radio late night remote broadcasts), and numerous high schools proms. Chuck also operated Chuck Selby's Danceland at King and High for a time. His death in 1978 signaled the end of an era.
A pupil of Franz Ziegler, William Steinhauer established himself as a first rate violinist while a student at The Ohio State University, performing with the Scarlet Mask Orchestra and serving as concertmaster of the Uni- versity Symphony. While he quickly found work with the big bands of Dick Fidler and Clinton Nobles, he continued to nurture his classical leanings through participation in various string ensembles, often per- forming at the Neil House. Following graduation, William taught instrumental music at East High School and joined with his wife, Ruth, in the violin section of the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra. He also was music director of the Grand Opera of Columbus and a pioneer in early Columbus radio, where he was heard over broadcasts from WCAH as early as 1922. William Steinhauer died in 1994.
Samuel "Sammy" Stewart
Pianist and arranger Samuel "Sammy" Stewart had been a member of Parker's Popular Players along with Earl Hood when he formed Sammy Stewart's Singing Syncopators and relocated to Chicago. Performing "symphonic jazz", Sammy Stewart and his orchestra, largely composed of Columbus musicians, became the toasts of Chicago and, later, New York. In March, 1926, Stewart's orchestra opened Chicago's Metropolitan Theater. A couple of years later, the band returned to Columbus for nearly a year before going to New York to open the Savoy Ballroom. Although Sammy's success led him far from his hometown, he frequently returned to Columbus for special events such as the opening of the Lincoln Theatre, and Earl Hood continued to obtain his arrangements from his mentor throughout his career as a band leader. Sammy died in 1941.
Joseph F. "Joe" Susi
Joseph "Joe" Susi learned to play trumpet from another Hall of Famer, Sam Giammarco. Upon graduating from high school, Joe went on the road with the Bobby Sherwood Band before World War II intervened and he wound up working with comedian Herb Shriner in the 35th Special Services. After the war, he toured with the Jimmy James and Tommy Reid Bands before coming home to Columbus. For nine years, he was a professional musician on the local scene before taking a day job and limiting the Joe Susi Sextet to weekend work. Since 1968, he has been on the staff of American Federation of Musicians Local 103, currently serving as secretary-treasurer on a full time basis. Joe was also in the 37th Division Band during the Korean conflict.
Al Waslohn attended the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, as well as Yale University, studying piano under the direction of Jose Iturbe, Fritz Reiner, Stravinsky, Kostelanetz, and Bernstein. His composition, "Rhapsody for Piano and Jazz Band", was introduced "at one of the first jazz concerts in the country." Two years of traveling with Buddy Morrow's big band were followed by a string of dates with Ray Anthony, Ina Ray Hutton, Phil Napoleon, and Jimmy Dorsey. Arriving in Columbus, Al became associated with WLW-C television for many years, providing the band for live morning shows hosted by the likes of Dean Miller, Jack Denton, and Spook Beckman, as well as filling in for Cliff Lash on Ruth Lyon's 50-50 Club in Cincinnati. He also appeared in local night clubs such as the Grandview Inn and the Riviera. He was a particular favorite of The Four Saints, who hired him to back them whenever they were in the area. Al died in 1977.
Joseph "Joe" Weisberg
Pianist Joseph "Joe" Weisberg was already working at WAIU radio in the 30s. He had been a member of the Ohio State University Marching Band and later the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra, in addition to performing with Paul Whiteman. In the middle 40s, his "Session in Dixieland", which originated on WCOL, was running from 6:45 to 7:15 on Saturday nights. Joe's orchestra, composed primarily of other radio musicians, played the Town and Country Room of the Neil house in 1951. A decade later, he was working the Deshler Cole Roaring 20s Room and King's Court, playing all his own arrangements. Joe has served as music director of ABC Television, the Teen Age American Pageant, and the musical "Cinderella", as well as studying and performing in New York for three years and appearing as a soloist with the Columbus Symphony. For a number of years, he has taught piano locally.
At the age of 15, singer Nancy Wilson entered a talent contest sponsored by WTVN-TV which led to her own 15 minute, twice weekly TV show, "Skyline Melody." It ran for 13 weeks. Graduating from West High School in 1954, Nancy joined Raleigh Randolph's Sultans of Swing, traveling as far south as Cincinnati and as far west as Fort Wayne. She also worked with Sylvester Burch before settling in with Rusty Bryant and cutting her first record. Three years later, Wilson went to New York City to seek her fortune. She quickly picked up a job singing at the Club Morocco where Cannonball Adderly introduced her to John Levy, his manager. Levy had her cut some demos which he mailed off to Capitol Records and, within five weeks, she was signed. Nancy's first album, "Like In Love", was released in April, 1959. Disc jockeys Sid McCoy (who nicknamed her "Sweet Nancy") and Daddy-O Daylie pushed the album when she played the Sutherland Show Lounge in Chicago later that year. Between 1962 and 1971, Wilson had 21 albums which charted. She has also had great success in her rare turns as an actress. In fact, Nancy states she is acting when she sings, particularly the dramatic torch songs. With more than 50 albums to her credit, Nancy is easily Columbus's best know musical export.
Conductor of the Southern and Hartman Theater Orchestras for 25 years, as well as of the first Columbus Symphony (which he helped to found), Franz Ziegler was an internationally-known classical violinist who preferred life in Columbus to the concert stages of Europe. Although a Columbus native, Ziegler had studied music in the great conservatories of Leipsig and Berlin, where he was a selected pupil of Joseph Joachim, then regarded as the best violinist in Europe. As first violinist of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, he played under the baton of Brahms, Rubinstein, and Griegg, among others. However, is was as director of the Franz Ziegler School of Music that he, perhaps, had his greatest impact, teaching hundreds of local young people to play the violin. He died in 1963.