Musical History of Tacoma

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Tribute to Lee Hale

-- by Kim Davenport Over the past several years, I have had the unique privilege of corresponding with Lee Hale, a Tacoma native who went on to an illustrious musical career. His generosity and kindness in sharing memories and artifacts of his time in Tacoma have been indispensable in my research, particularly into the music... Continue Reading →

Marian Anderson: a Musical Icon visits Tacoma

-- by Joelle dela Cruz On February 5th, 1945, Tacoma was graced with a concert from famous singer Marian Anderson. This concert was a very anticipated performance because of Anderson’s prestige as a talented contralto singer. She gave a powerful performance in front of a record setting crowd at the Temple Theatre. She sang “My... Continue Reading →

Honolulu Conservatory of Music

-- by Kim Davenport Beginning in the 1930s with Hollywood films like Waikiki Wedding and Her Jungle Love, and only growing with the success of South Pacific and the return of soldiers from World War II, a fascination with all things Hawaiian was in full swing throughout the United States by the late 1940s. The... Continue Reading →

Cushman School Band

-- by Kim Davenport At first glance, the photograph above looks like many others of its era. A group of about twenty young men and boys pose in uniform with their band instruments, primarily brass and drums, the largest of which is positioned front and center and features the name of the group. In the... Continue Reading →

A Legacy in Artifacts

- by Kim Davenport - Julius Adler is a name I've come across many times in connection to musical stories from Tacoma around the turn of the 20th century. His time here was short - 1899-1902 - but he left behind a range of artifacts which document his career as a musician. Amidst the photographs and... Continue Reading →

Chris Knutsen and the Harp Guitar

-- by Kim Davenport Tacoma has no shortage of guitar-related history, from a wide array of performers playing our venues to the Tacoma Guitars line manufactured here from the 1990s through the early 2000s. But today's story takes us back a century prior, to a creative instrument builder who patented his designs for the harp... Continue Reading →

The Doma Tacoma!

-- by Kim Davenport My recent project - digitizing vinyl that has been hiding out in the collections of local libraries and historical societies - has uncovered another fun gem! This novelty song, The Doma Tacoma, was written by local musician Arel Thomas and performed by The Kicks, a short-lived early-1980's band, in honor of the... Continue Reading →

Booster Songs for a New Hometown

-- by Kim Davenport With thanks again to the Northwest Room librarians at Tacoma Public Library, I'm pleased to share audio of music by Joe Jordan from two 45-rpm albums that have been sitting in the library's basement archives since the 1960s. As I've previously shared here and here, Joe Jordan, a musician out of the... Continue Reading →

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