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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Robin Hood Dell Concert Program 1943

I recently got this from a brand new friend of mine in Canada, after doing a small post on Craig's list that I was looking for Judy Garland collectibles. I left my e-mail contact information including my Post Office box number. Low and behold, unannounced came this incredible concert program.

From an online search today I learned that this Judy's first solo concert at the Robin Hood Dell on July 10, 1943 in Philadelphia; Andre Kostelanetz conducts the orchestra.

Directly from online research the following is information on that concert............
Judy's Symphonic Jive Newsweek - July 1943

Judy Garland was never so petrified in her life. With hands clasped demurely behind her, she had just walked out on the stage of Philadelphia's Robin Hood Dell to make her concert debut. Behind her sat 90 of the finest orchestral musicians in the world--the men of the Philadelphia Orchestra. At her side stood a man who had conducted for nearly every famous prima donna in the business, Andre Kostolanetz. In front of her, covering benches, aisles, roof tops, tress, steps, and hillside was all of her public that could possibly cram themselves into the Dell amphitheater--a sea of nearly 36,000 faces and a Dell record anyway it was counted.

There was little of the typical Garland exuberance in Judy's first group, which consisted of four Gershwin love songs: "Someone to Watch over Me," "Do, Do, Do," "Embraceable You," and "The Man I Love." Except for her startling red-blond hair, she looked just like a girl who had just arrived at her first formal party and was scared stiff nobody would dance with her.
With "Strike Up the Band", which followed, she began to feel the beat which Kostolanetz was coaxing from the orchestra. And after intermission, when she got into the songs from her own movies--"Over the Rainbow", "For Me and My Gal", and "You Made Me Love You"--Miss G. relaxed and slid right into the groove

At her finale, "The Joint is Really Jumpin' Down at Carnegie Hall," neither she nor her fans were feeling any pain. "I thought to myself," she said afterward, "that they were probably thinking what was I doing there anyway, so I just sang louder." Needless to say, the crowd roared, stamped, clapped, and whistled. To get the proper beat for this one, incidentally, Kostolanetz imported six hot saxophonists, on jazz trumpet, and one boogie-woogie pianist into the staid confines of the Philadelphia.

Although David Hocker, the Dell's astute young manager, had to maneuver for two years to make this non-symphonic symphonic debut possible, it was definitely a success and Miss Garland said it was more fun than anything she had ever done. A concert tour next winter might result, but "it never would be any more serious than this."

Included in my envelop was a lovely note from my new friend that her mother attended this concert and had passed away on May 27th and she wanted someone to have it that would cherish it as much as her mother did--no strings attached and no charge!! I was of course floored that a complete stranger would do that and no I consider this nice woman a great friend--thanks so much Virginia.

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