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Show TunesThe Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway’s Major Composers$
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Steven Suskin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195314076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195314076.001.0001

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Meredith Willson

Meredith Willson

Born: May 8, 1902, Mason City, Iowa

Died: June 15, 1984, Santa Monica, California

(p.261) Meredith Willson
Show Tunes

Steven Suskin

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the work of Meredith Willson. Willson, as a small-town child, despite musical tendancies did not take up the trumpet as he had a lisp. Rather, he sang barber shop songs and became proficient on the flute and piccolo. His mother gave him piano lessons, though. By the age of nineteen, Willson was playing flute in John Philip Sousa’s band, and in 1924 he moved over to the New York Philharmonic. At the decade’s end he headed to the West Coast and began a successful career in radio as performer and conductor.

Keywords:   Meredith Willson, flute, piccolo, musical theater, show tunes, John Philip Sousa, conductor

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