University Libraries' exhibit explores the legacy of Fred Waring

"Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians: A Musical Legacy" will be on display March 22 through Aug. 1, in the Diversity Studies Room (room 109) in Pattee Library on Penn State's University Park campus. The year 2010 is the 110th birthday anniversary of "the man who taught America how to sing," famous bandleader and choral conductor Fred Waring. Born in nearby Tyrone, Pa., on June 9, 1900, Waring was a pioneer in every field of show business as well as music education, publishing and manufacturing.

It was at Penn State that Waring got his start, and he later served his alma mater as a trustee and distinguished alumnus. In 1984, he designated Penn State to house his collection of archives and memorabilia. The Fred Waring Collection, formally known as "Fred Waring’s America: A Collection of Memories," part of Penn State University Archives in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library,  is located on the third floor of Pattee Library, west. It contains historical memorabilia reflecting Waring’s lifetime as a choral conductor and entertainer.

The material in the collection includes the entire library of music arrangements (over 6,000) used by Waring and the Pennsylvanians from 1917-1984. There also is a large collection of published sheet music. There are more than 25,000 recordings on disc, wire, tape, kinescopes and video covering every radio and television broadcast from 1933-1960, concert recordings, reference recordings of Music Workshop sessions and other miscellaneous performances, appearances and interviews. Also, complete scripts, program listings and production notes are available for all broadcasts.

There are over 30,000 photographs, 75 scrapbooks, business and personal correspondence, awards, musical instruments, costumes, stage props, Waring Blendors, golf paraphernalia, personal items and over 650 pieces of original cartoon art as a result of his long-time friendship with members of the National Cartoonist Society.

Waring and his Pennsylvanians entertained audiences throughout the world on stage, radio, television, records and in motion pictures, and toured extensively throughout America. Waring and his group racked up many firsts along the way -- they were the first to have a singing band, to use megaphones, to feature vocalists with an orchestra, to combine an orchestra with a glee club, to make a full-length musical talking picture, to originate the show choir concept and to present weekly musical spectaculars on television.

For more information on the collection and hours, call 814-863-2911. Exhibit hours are the standard hours of operation for Pattee Library, available at 814-865-3063.

Last Updated November 18, 2010