90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Singer From Duke Ellington’s 1961 Concert Remembers The Sound She’ll Never Forget

During our Oct. 22 hour on jazz legend Duke Ellington, a caller from Nashville, TN, regaled Tom with her own personal memories of the jazz great. During one of the Duke’s many tours around the country, he visited caller Shirley’s native Buffalo, NY, where he performed in that city’s Kleinhans Music Hall. (Shirley said it must have been 1964, but the nearest date we could find to her recollections was an earlier concert in August 1961). Shirley remembered the thrill of being selected to sing with her choir in a Duke Ellington performance.

I’m from Buffalo, New York originally. I had the extreme pleasure of growing up in a very versatile musical community.

When I was 14 years old in Buffalo, New York, Duke Ellington came to Kleinhans Music Hall in 1964[sic], I was 14 years old at the time.

We got a call, the choral group I was involved with very heavily at the time was just at the top of their game, and we got a call — Duke was looking or a choir that was very versatile, eclectic in style and we were chosen. And that was the most serene experience of my life. Meeting that man — he was the coolest dude! What we did for the performance, was we walked in and  of course I was nervous and the orchestra was there and Duke raised his baton, and he said ‘You’re getting ready to go on a flight with me. Don’t be afraid, just do what I tell you to do.‘ And so I was sitting there waiting for music or something. And he said, ‘When I raise this baton, I want every one of of you orchestra members and every one of the choir members to just quietly bellow out any note that you want.’

And we so we all looked, ‘Is he serious?‘ He raised the baton and I cannot…I get goosebumps just thinking of it now, I cannot tell you the kind of sound was created when we did that. He was so ahead of his time and everything, if you can imagine the coolest new-age sound and he said, ‘When I move the baton again, I want you go anywhere you want to go.

He was majestic. He was a genius, he was not afraid to do anything that he knew could be expressed in music.

Do have your own Duke Ellington memories? What song sings ‘Duke Ellington’ do you? Leave your comments below, on Facebook, Tumblr or @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 24, 2014
Youths seen playing basketball through bars on a window at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Ethan Allen School in Wales, Wis. (AP file)

The cold hard facts about juvenile prisons. And the case for shutting them all down.

Jul 24, 2014
Nickel Creek

After a 7-year hiatus, progressive folk trio Nickel Creek is back together. We’ll hear from them and their latest album, “A Dotted Line.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

 
Jul 23, 2014
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along train tracks and boxcars after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border, in Ixtepec, southern Mexico. (AP)

Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
Friday, Jul 11, 2014

As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

More »
Comment
 
Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe joined us today with a few fixes for American political inaction.

More »
Comment
 
Future Radio Interns Of America: On Point Wants YOU!
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

On Point needs interns for the fall. Could YOU be one of them?

More »
2 Comments