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Carolina Club Orchestra

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The” band of the University of North Carolina, all 19 year olds, led by Hal Kemp in the 1920’s. A booking on a transatlantic ocean cruise led them to make their recording bow in London (where visiting American bands were a hot commodity, even then). The cruise itself was as much a lark as a professional stepping stone for the student band, whose members all figured to be doing something else professionally. But then fate played a hand: on the return trip, they were lucky enough to have the Prince of Wales (later the abdicated Edward VIII) as a fellow passenger who was a music enthusiast and drummer, and he sat in with them; in those days, the United States had such an inferiority complex that anything the British “royals” did was news — the Carolina Club Orchestra didn’t know it, but every day they were at sea they were getting mentioned in the press in every major city in America. Upon docking, Kemp and company found offers waiting for them, and agents eager to represent them.

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