Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: “I wish I’d never seen your face”

You know this guy, right?

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What does he have in common with the following?

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No. They all sold a ton of records is not the answer.

Rod Stewart has now joined that illustrious company of performing with…

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No surprise. The album is a hot seller. Here’s one of the tracks, a song Stewart co-wrote in 1971 about the very first time he had sex.

“At 16, I went to the Beaulieu Jazz Festival in the New Forest. I’d snuck in with some mates via an overflow sewage pipe. And there on a secluded patch of grass, I lost my not-remotely-prized virginity with an older (and larger) woman who’d come on to me very strongly in the beer tent. How much older, I can’t tell you – but old enough to be highly disappointed by the brevity of the experience,” Stewart said in his memoir Rod: The Autobiography.

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Stewart’s record company, Mercury, didn’t think “Maggie May” was a hit, so it was used  as the B-side of the single “Reason To Believe.” The folks that spun the records liked “Maggie May” much better, though. The first station to flip the single and play it as the A-side was WOKY in Milwaukee.

This Tuesday the 75-year old Stewart is scheduled to close the show at The BRIT Awards 2020 at the O2 Arena in London, the 40th edition of the British Phonographic Industry’s annual pop music awards.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: “The Summer Knows”

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The Oscars are presented this Sunday.

Here are the nominees in the Best Song category:

Harriet Poster

“Stand Up” from Harriet

Let’s go to a movie this week.

It’s 1971 and “The Summer of ‘42″ is released. During summer vacation on Nantucket Island in 1942, a youth anxiously awaiting his first sexual encounter finds himself developing an innocent love for a young woman whose husband is a soldier in WWII. Lovely model and magazine cover girl Jennifer O’Neill starred. The NY Times wrote about the film in September of 1971.

Directed by Robert Mulligan, it was shot in eight weeks on location around Mendocino in northern California, and Jennifer’s eyes tend to get a little misty when she reminisces about it. “The people all really fit together,” she says, “and they really cared about what they were doing. We worked six days a week and we weren’t even exhausted. We were tired, and yet we weren’t. We couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and start shooting. After Richard Roth, the producer, had seen the rushes of the last scene, he was so excited that he posted a notice saying the rushes would be shown at 9 Sunday morning. And do you know, 90 per cent of the crew showed up—on a Sunday morning! That’s just how incredible the atmosphere was.”

That last scene, in which Dorothy, the 26‐year‐ald war widow, goes to bed with Hermie (Gary Grimes), a 15‐year‐old naïf who has admired her all summer, is the most dramatic scene in the film—and one that has been rapped by some critics for being “unrealistic.” Does Jennifer think that Dorothy really would have gone straight to bed with a teen‐ager after learning her husband had been killed in World War II? “I thought about that a lot,” she says, “and I don’t know. Dorothy had had some drinks, and she was absolutely paralyzed with sorrow. And she was fantasizing. When she began to dance with Hermie, she thought that it was the comfort of her husband, somebody sympathetic, real and alive. If Hermie had arrived three hours later, or the next day, it never would have happened.

“I simply refuse to do nude scenes,” she almost shouts. “In fact, if Robert Mulligan would have made me do them for ‘Summer of ’42.’ I would have refused the part — as much as I wanted it. I just hate the whole idea. I don’t feel I have to take my clothes off in order to act. I’m sort of a private person. I’ve never stood in front of a camera without any clothes on, and never will. A lot of people are going to say I’m nude in ’42, but that was just my back. I had something taped on my front. I mean, if an actor wants to go nude, fine. But why should you have to if you don’t want to? The whole thing just aggravates the hell out of me!”

“Because the film plays in a pretty regular basis for the last 20 years, I now hear, ‘My husband’s in love with you and so is my son.’ And to think, I was only in the film for 15 minutes,” O’Neill said in a 2019 interview.

The summer smiles, the summer knows
A
nd unashamed, she sheds her clothes
The summer smooths the restless sky
And lovingly she warms the sand on which you lie

Michel Legrand was the composer for the 1971 film. He died in January of last year. Saxophonist Dave Koz released a very nice album of movie tunes a few years ago.

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At the 1972 Oscar ceremony The Summer of ’42 won this award:

Music (Original Dramatic Score) – Michel Legrand

And some notes about Jennifer O’Neill:

When she was just 14 she tried to take her life. She swallowed many of her mother’s pills and was rescued at a hospital that pumped her stomach. “God really did save my life. I didn’t have any permanent damage from that attempt because I was in the hospital for two weeks in a coma. I could have had a lot of damage, but I was spared,” O’Neill said.

At age 15 she made the cover of Vogue, earning $80,000 a year.

Also when O’Neill was 15 her horse threw her, and she broke her neck and back.

At age 18, she married the first of eight husbands.

At 22 she got her first movie role in “Rio Lobo” opposite John Wayne.

In 1982 she accidentally shot herself after picking up a gun.

O’Neill currently leads the Hope and Healing at Hillenglade (HHH) program in Nashville, Tennessee, that offers veterans and their families time with horses to help them cope with PTSD and rebuild relationships with loved ones.

And finally, she’s pro-life.

BONUS:

80 years ago today, Walt Disney’s second feature length film, Pinocchio, premiered. Based on an Italian children’s novel, the animated Disney movie involves an old woodworker named Geppetto who carves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio.  The puppet is brought to life by a blue fairy, who informs him that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be “brave, truthful, and unselfish”. With the help of Jiminy Cricket, his wise guide, he sets off on adventures toward his goal. Even with its highly realistic hand-drawn animation effects, the movie was a box office flop—but today it’s considered among Disney’s finest productions.  And this song is not just a great Disney song, but one of the best songs ever.

The singer is the wonderful Steve Tyrell.

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: A hanging

Bob Shane, the last surviving original member of the folk group the Kingston Trio, died last Sunday at a hospice in Phoenix, Ariz. at age 85. The other original members were Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard.

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Bob Shane, left

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Bob Shane, center

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Shane was the lead singer on the million-selling ballad “Tom Dooley,” among other hits. “Tom Dooley” reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts, won a Grammy for best country and western song (no folk category existed at the time) and helped launch the folk revival, with other artists including Joan Baez; Peter, Paul and Mary; and, eventually, Bob Dylan.

There are many accounts of the story of Tom Dooley. According to the North Carolina Visitor Center, Dooley was a young confederate soldier who returned to his home in Wilkes County, North Carolina after the Civil War. Before the war broke out Dooley was well-known as a ladies man. Two of them were Laura Foster and her cousin Ann Foster. He was infatuated with both, and both were infatuated with him. Dooley spent time together with each.

When the war was over Ann married James Milton. That left a clear path for Laura and Tom. But Laura had many suitors like schoolteacher Bob Grayson who wanted Laura for his wife.

Tom had made plans with Laura to run away and get married. One night she took what clothes she could carry on horseback and left home for her rendezvous with Tom. The 18-year old Laura disappeared. A search party that included Bob Grayson came up empty and folks assumed she ran off with Tom.

More searches. Three weeks later Laura’s horse was discovered. Searchers found the spot where the horse had been tied to a tree. They spread out, started digging, and found Laura’s body, her legs broken and a stab wound in her breast. Laura’s bag of clothing was also found.

Eventually Tom, accused by Grayson, was arrested and bound over for trial. Though he maintained his innocence and also his silence throughout, Tom was convicted and faced execution. When the rope was placed around his neck he was asked if he had any last words to say.

Just before the trap door dropped Tom said, “Gentlemen, do you see this hand? Do you see it tremble? Do you see it shake? I never hurt a hair on the girl’s head.”

From Milton Berle’s TV show…

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From 2018


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Tom Dooley painted by the late Edith Ferguson Carter

 

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Laura Foster painted by the late Edith Ferguson Carter

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This drawing is by the late Edith Ferguson Carter and can be seen with her other works about this tragic story at the Tom Dooley Museum at Whippoorwill Academy and Village.

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Located approx. a mile away from the village is Tom Dooley’s grave. Sadly, souvenir hunters have chipped away a good deal of the stone

John Foster West wrote a book about Tom Dooley. West told NPR in 2000 the museum is popular with young children.

“We turn the lights out, and we tell all the ghostly stories that happened up on the Tom Dooley Road. Like the old Tom Dooley house, you know, the doors would creak and chains rattling, because Tom Dooley’s blood was on the floor. I think they brought his body home from Statesville after he’d been hung. His body swelled and burst, and blood ran on the floor. And they were never able to get that blood up off the floor ever again.”

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: “Keep Growing Strong”

Last week’s oldie as you’ll recall featured the yummy Connie Stevens and her duet with Edd (Kookie) Brynes. She inspired this week’s oldie with her going solo.

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Like Byrnes, Stevens did television. Her big series was “Hawaiian Eye.”

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Stevens did some recordings, too, besides “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.” Her most successful single was “16 Reasons.”

In 1970 arranger and producer Thom Bell who was one of the creators of the lush Philly soul sound wrote a song for Stevens. The title may not be familiar but the tune should be.  Stevens did this one first.

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Hard to believe Stevens’ recording didn’t chart. At all.

Without despair Bell changed the title, basically kept the same lyrics and arrangement. The Stylistics released their single in 1972 and it zoomed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Many years later they still sound smooth and sweet.

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The late Prince also recorded a version in 1996.

There are actually two (2) Stylistics groups on the tour circuit today: The Stylistics who headline the 70’s soul jam tour and another group called the New Stylistics, and yes, it can be confusing.

Back in July of 1986 Stevens was severely bitten when she intervened in a fight between her two pet husky dogs. Surgeons considered amputating her right leg because of infection. The singer underwent leg surgery at UCLA Medical Center after she was bitten in the backyard of her Holmby Hills home. She sprayed a garden hose to break up the fight between the two male 150-pound huskies, Caleb and Aja. After she separated the dogs, Caleb bit her right calf six times.

Stevens is now 81.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: He had smog in his noggin’

Edd Byrnes, star of the 1950s and ’60s TV detective hit “77 Sunset Strip” died last week at his home in Santa Monica, CA, of natural causes. He was 87.

In the series Byrnes played Gerald Kookson III, (Kookie for short), a nightclub parking lot attendant who constantly ran his comb through his slick hair. He was also known for spewing out all kinds of slang.

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Actress Jo Morrow with Kookie

Byrnes was a heartthrob, a favorite with the kids, getting as many as 15,000 fan letters a week.

“As Kookie, I was one of the first young fellows on television, one of the first that the young could identify with,” Brynes told an interviewer in 1969.

His popularity led to a novelty hit recording in 1959 with actress Connie Stevens.

I must be honest. In my view this is a terrible song. The lyrics are, at best, silly. The vocals are not high quality. But Byrnes was a TV star. He was cool, and talked really cool. With Elvis in the Army and not on American soil, the trail was wide open for teen idols and Byrnes stepped right in.

“Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb” is not a classic, and if there ever was a “forgotten oldie” this certainly fits the category. But the timing was right. So bad that it was good? A definite snapshot of the ear. The stars were aligned in May of 1959 when the single hit gold, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1959.

On national TV, April 4, 1959

Connie: Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb. Kookie, Kookie?
Edward (E.): Well now, let’s take it from the top & grab some wheels
& on the way we’ll talk about some cuckoo deals.
C: But Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb. Kookie, Kookie?E: Now you’re on my wavelength, & I’m readin’ you just fine.
Don’t cut out of here till we get on Cloud 9.
C: But Kookie? Kookie?E: I’ve got smog in my noggin ever since you made the scene
C: You’re the utmost!
E: If you ever tune me out… Dad, I’m the saddest, like a brain
C: The very utmost. Kookie, lend me your comb. Kookie, Kookie?

E: Man, I got my bruise lighters and my flaps are gonna bend
You’re gonna send me to that planet called… You know it, baby, the end!

C: Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb. Kookie, Kookie?
E: If you ever cut out, then I’d be a stray cat
‘Cause when I’m flyin’ solo, nowhere’s where I’m at!
C: Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb. Kookie, Kookie?

E: What’s with this comb cave, baby? Why do you wanna latch up with my comb?
C: I just want you to stop combing your hair… & kiss me. You’re the maximum utmost.
E: Well, I beans & I dreamsville, and I’m movin’ right now
‘Cause that’s the kind of scene that I dig… Baby, you’re the ginchiest!

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Interesting that Byrnes and Stevens appeared on “American Bandstand” hosted by Dick Clark. Byrnes played radio announcer Vince Fontaine in the 1978 movie version of “Grease” and in a memorable scene is the host of a TV dance contest.

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AND FINALLY…

Brynes had something in common with…

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The movie “PT 109” premiered in theaters in June of 1963, the third year of John F. Kennedy’s presidency. It told the story of Kennedy as an officer of the United States Navy in command of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during the Pacific War of World War II. The White House was given full approval of casting and other aspects of the film. Edd Brynes (and several others) was considered to play the lead role.

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But Byrnes wrote in his autobiography that JFK wasn’t exactly thrilled about being portrayed by an actor called “Kookie” who was famous for combing his hair and calling everybody ‘dad.’

Jackie Kennedy had someone in mind.

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But Warren Beatty didn’t get the part. JFK’s choice did, Cliff Robertson.

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: An unspeakable tragedy

Wednesday of this week, January 8th, was a big day in pop music history.

On that day in 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

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David Bowie, the rock star who reinvented popular music with singles such as “Space Oddity” and “Starman” was born in 1947.

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And in 1966, The Beatles’ reached No.1 on the US album chart with the groundbreaking “Rubber Soul.” It was their 7th chart–topping LP,  staying on the Billboard list for an incredible 56 weeks, with album sales that were unprecedented.

Fast forward to the night of December 8, 1980. The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins were playing on Monday Night Football.

Many TV and radio news reports about Lennon’s murder over the next several days used clips of this song off that “Rubber Soul” album.

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BONUS

Also on January 8 Jerome Anthony Gourdine celebrated his 78th birthday. Gourdine is the lead singer of  Little Anthony & The Imperials, known for his high voice.

“His diction, his enunciation, was so perfect,” said Gourdain about one of his biggest influences.  “I never met Mr. Nat Cole, but I met his ex-road manager, who told me all kinds of stories about how he tried to get him to stop smoking so much. And I met his daughters. I said to Natalie, ‘I always wanted to meet your dad, but it just didn’t work out. And she said, ‘No, you didn’t meet my dad—but my sisters love you.”

“But Frank Sinatra was the greatest technician with lyrics,” he continued. “When I sang, ‘Well, I think I’m goin’ out of my head,’ it transformed into me. My emotions got involved.”

Dozens of artists have done this song, but Little Anthony and the Imperials recorded it first in 1964, reaching #6 on the Billboard chart. An ominous beginning turns into one of the prettiest ballads ever. No, they don’t write or sing them like they used to.

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2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction plaque

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Not just a sleigh ride

Image may contain: tree and outdoorAdirondack Sleigh Rides in Lake Placid, NY

If you listened to Christmas music on the radio this season you probably heard “Sleigh Ride.” Both local FM stations that programmed Christmas material played Leroy Anderson’s version.

And why not. Anderson arranged many tunes for Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra including Sleigh Ride that Anderson started working on during a heat wave in 1946. The piece was finished in 1948. By December of that year New York City department stores were playing Sleigh Ride.

But there’s plenty more in Anderson’s portfolio, instrumentals that might be quite familiar to you.

American record producer and musician Meco Menardo or Meco is best known for his 1977 space disco version of the Star Wars theme from his album “Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk.”

Meco put together this collection of Anderson compositions. I swear as you listen you’re going to say, ‘Oh yeh, I remember that one.’

Sleigh Ride
Blue Tango
Trumpeter’s Lullaby
The Syncopated Clock
Fiddle, faddle
Typewriter
Plink, Plank, Plunk
Serenata
Bugler’s Holiday

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BONUS!

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: This is Christmas, This is Christmas, This is Christmastime

Way back in 1922 Rev. Bates G. Burt started a wonderful Christmas tradition. He began writing annual Christmas carols, the words and the music. The whole shootin’ match. Burt did so to send as Christmas cards to his parishioners in Marquette, Michigan, and again when he moved on to Pontiac, Michigan. Nineteen of his carols were published.

The task was then passed on to Bates’ son Alfred in 1942. While the Rev. Burt was a self-taught musician hos son was a jazz trumpeter with music degree from the University of Michigan. Alfred Burt wrote and composed 15 carols until his death in 1954. He was only 33. The carols he  published:

1. Christmas Cometh Caroling (1942)
2. Jesu Parvule (1943)
3. What Are the Signs (1944)
4. Ah, Bleak and Chill the Wintry Wind (1945)
5. All on A Christmas Morning (1946)
6. Nigh Bethlehem (1947)
7. Christ in the Stranger’s Guise (1948)
8. Carol of the Mother (Sleep Baby Mine) (1949)
9. Bright Bright the Holly Berries (This Is Christmas) (1950)
10. Some Children See Him (1951)
11. Come, Dear Children (1952)
12. O, Hearken Ye (1953)
13. Caroling Caroling (1954)
14. We’ll Dress the House (1954)
15. The Star Carol (1954)

Note #9. Maybe you’ve heard it, are familiar with it. But you definitely didn’t discover it on your FM radio this season.

The following vocal quartet from Los Angeles released a holiday album in 1972. That’s 47 years ago. And you never hear this or them on the radio. Forgotten Oldie? You bet.

The Singers Unlimited were formed in 1971 by Gene Puerling who earlier sang bass-baritone with the Hi-Lo’s in the early 1950’s. The popular group made recordings, performed in concert, and appeared on TV shows hosted by Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat King Cole.

Puerling was born in Milwaukee in 1929 and worked as radio disc jockey here until moving to Los Angeles where the Hi-Lo’s got their start. Rock and roll would eventually put an end to their career.

After experimenting with multi-track recording and over-dubbing of voices, Puerling became part of Singers Unlimited and more than a dozen albums.

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Puerling (above, far right) was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards and won in 1982 for his arrangement of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” for Manhattan Transfer. He died in 2008 at the age of 78.

BONUS!

Here’s a different take from one of my favorites, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: A Christmas Festival

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Have you ever seen the Boston Pops Orchestra in concert?

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They go on tour a lot, but haven’t been in these parts for some time that I’m aware of. Too bad. They’re sensational this time of year.

If you don’t have any Boston Pops Christmas albums, you need to get some, and fast. They’re essential, the very best.

The Pops has been blessed with some legendary conductors: Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart. All have done Christmas albums and all have included a famous instrumental collection of popular Christmas tunes and songs put together and arranged by famous Pops alumnus LeRoy Anderson (think “Sleigh Ride,” “Syncopated Clock,” and “The Typewriter”).

It’s called “A Christmas Festival” that despite its superior quality you’ll never hear on the radio, possibly because it’s close to nine minutes long.

Anderson spoke about his exquisite composition in a 1960’s interview.

“They (the Pops) wanted to record a special concert number, using Christmas songs, carols and other Christmas music, for records, so they asked, Arthur Fiedler asked me to do a concert overture, and this is how it came about. I selected the ones that were the most popular and best known, and then I took them and tried to give instrumental treatment to them; in other words, it’s not a medley, that isn’t what we wanted to do here, certainly what I didn’t want to do. I rather took the themes and built you might say a concert overture, around the Christmas songs.

“When this was done, I think it was in 1950 or 1951, they still had single records as the main part of the market; LP’s were just about coming in. So while it was played all the way through, that is, when it was recorded, for the LP, we also had to make a split after four minutes – the Christmas Festival runs about 8 minutes so that meant that when I wrote it I had to make a place in the middle where you could stop and this is a problem I had with many other things I did for the Boston Pops such as the musical comedy selections, where they ran 7 or 8 minutes and had to go on two sides of a record, it was necessary to write so there was a spot in the middle where you could make a logical break, and at the same time also pick up again for the other side, and it had to be as satisfactory as it could for that purpose; but, at the same time, it had to be done so it wasn’t noticeable when you played the whole thing all the way through. In other words, you couldn’t have the seams showing. This was done in the Christmas Festival and if I may brag a bit, I defy anybody to find out the exact spot where that occurred because, of course, we don’t play it stopping any more, it’s played all the way through because now with LP records we don’t have to stop every three or four minutes.”

Did you catch all that?

Most radio program directors have their Christmas selections in place based on a list, no doubt submitted by a paid consultant that has surveyed a significantly young group about their Christmas favorites.

Would love to see a station manager have the creativity to insert the following into their programming. It’s the best of the best all in one. How can you not love it?

Arthur Fiedler conducts here.

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