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The Chad Mitchell Trio

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The Chad Mitchell Trio was a popular folk music group during the 1960s. The group became known for their willingness to perform both serious and satirical songs that criticized current events and news-makers, compared to the typical ‘folk music’ groups of their time.

The original group was formed by Gonzaga University students and Glee Club members William Chad Mitchell (from Spokane, Washington); Mike Kobluk (from Trail, British Columbia, Canada); and Mike Pugh (from Pasco, Washington). They were encouraged by Spokane, Washington Roman Catholic priest Reinard W. Beaver, who invited the three to travel with him to New York City in the summer of 1959 and to try performing in the burgeoning folk-music scene. Unlike many fellow folk-music groups, none of the Trio’s members played instruments.

The key people that helped the Trio get going were musical arranger Milton Okun and star performer/singer Harry Belafonte. Okun provided a professional polish to their performing skills, which helped them gain both a key booking at New York City’s Blue Angel club and radio appearances with Arthur Godfrey and television appearances with Pat Boone. Belafonte had them appear as back-up singers, with a small featured spotlight, in his May 1960 Carnegie Hall concert, and signed them to his Belafonte Enterprises management firm.

In the summer of 1960, Pugh left the group to return to college. After auditioning over 150 singers, Joe Frazier (from Lebanon, Pennsylvania; not the heavyweight champion boxer) was chosen to replace Pugh.

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