Apr 12, 2010

An Ed Sullivan Moment...

Today I received some mail that had an Ed Sullivan stamp.  I was reminded of a Sunday night in 1960, April 17th to be precise, when I appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show as part of the University of Rochester Glee Club.

During that time, one of the major sponsors of the Sullivan show was the Eastman Kodak Company.  They were also major supporters of the University of Rochester.  I suspect there was some connection between those two relationships that resulted in our glee club being invited to appear on that Easter Sunday evening.

We traveled to New York by bus.  Videotaping technology was young, but the show was actually half live and half videotaped.  We performed around 2:00 PM in front of a full house at the Ed Sullivan theater.  This is the same theater that is now used for the David Letterman Show.  Mahalia Jackson also was videotaped in the afternoon, so we got to meet her as well as Wayne & Shuster, a Canadian comedy team.

As the show was broadcast on Sunday evenings, they would intersperse the live sections with the videotaped segments, allowing them to change sets in the theater.  It really isn't a very big stage and could never accommodate multiple acts.  The result was that by the time the show was on, we were back in our hotel rooms enjoying the performance.  We were directed by Dr. Ward Woodbury, who was a wonderful choral director and a real perfectionist.  He went on in retirement to be director of the Florida Bach Festival for many, many years.

We all had to join the musician's union for one day in order to legally perform.  We got paid by Ed Sullivan Productions in the amount of $86.00.  It was a big deal to me and I recall holding onto the check for a long time before I deposited it.

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