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Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians

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Fredrick Malcolm Waring (born June 9, 1900 in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, died July 29, 1984, State College, Pennsylvania) was a popular musician, bandleader, and radio and TV personality of the 20th century, sometimes referred to as “the man who taught America how to sing.”

Waring once touted the blender by saying, “…this mixer is going to revolutionize American drinks.” Waring blenders became an essential appliance for every “modern kitchen.” It was said that Waring blenders were used by Jonas Salk for developing his polio vaccine.

When he decided to add a men’s singing group to his growing ensemble, he recruited a young man named Robert Shaw, recently out of the Pomona College glee club in California, to train his singers. Shaw, of course, went on to found the Robert Shaw Chorale, direct the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, and become America’s preeminent conductor of “serious” choral music — although the decidedly “schmaltzy” recordings of the men of the Robert Shaw Chorale contain strong echoes of the famous Waring glee club sound.

During the war years, Waring and his ensemble appeared at countless war bond rallies and entertained the troops at training camps. He also composed and/or performed dozens of patriotic songs, his most famous being “My America.” Throughout the 1940s and early 1950s Waring and The Pennsylvanians produced a string of hits, selling millions of records, and remained among the best known musical groups in the nation. A few of his many choral hits include “Sleep,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “White Christmas,” and “Dancing In The Dark.”

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