Do you remember these lines from The Music Man when Professor Harold Hill is trying to woo the citizens of River City?

Oh, a band’ll do it, my friends, oh yes

I said a Boys Band, do you hear me?

I say River City’s gotta have a Boys Band

and I mean she needs it today.

Well, Professor Harold Hill’s on hand

and River City’s gonna have her Boys Band

Just as sure as the Lord made little green apples

and that band’s gonna be in uniform

Johnny, Willy, Teddy, Fred

And you’ll see the glitter of crashing cymbals

and you’ll hear the thunder of rolling drums

and the shimmer of trumpets.

Ta-ta-ta!

And you’ll feel something akin to the electric thrill

I once enjoyed when Gilmore, Pat Conway,

The Great Creatore, W.C. Handy, and John Philip Sousa

all came to town on the very same historic day!

And then he launches into that fabulous song, 76 Trombones. Today is W.C. Handy’s birthday.  He was known as the “Father of the Blues,” having composed what we think of as the first blues song, “Memphis Blues,” originally composed as a campaign song for a politician running for office in Memphis, TN. Handy was born in 1973 and had a long fruitful, musical life, dying in 1958. Over the course of his life, he performed in blues groups, composed music, compiled books of music by other blues composers, and had his own music publishing company in which he published some of the earliest sheet music.

Here’s a little W.C. Handy with the St. Louis Blues!

W.C. Handy & his Orchestra, St. Louis Blues

The University of North Alabama has a more complete biography.

http://www.una.edu/library/about/collections/handy/biography.html

In Kindermusik, we include the blues as part of our repertoire believing that children exposed to a wide variety of musical styles and genres help to provide a rich sensory environment which forges connections in the brain that facilitate learning. It also helps your child develop an appreciation for the rich variety of music available in our diverse and vibrant world.

76 Trombones, finale (1962)

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