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Fred Waring

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Fred Waring
Fred Waring in a 1944 advertisement
Fred Waring in a 1944 advertisement
Background information
Birth nameFredrick Malcolm Waring
Born(1900-06-09)June 9, 1900
Tyrone, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJuly 29, 1984(1984-07-29) (aged 84)
State College, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresJazz, traditional pop
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader, radio and TV personality
Instrument(s)Vocals, banjo
Years active1923–1984

Fredrick Malcolm Waring Sr. (June 9, 1900 – July 29, 1984) was an American musician, bandleader, choral director, and radio and television personality, sometimes referred to as "America's Singing Master" and "The Man Who Taught America How to Sing".[1][2] He was also a promoter, financial backer and eponym of the Waring Blendor, the first modern electric blender on the market.[3]



Fredrick Malcolm Waring was born in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, on June 9, 1900, to Jesse Calderwood and Frank Waring.[1] During his teen years, Waring, his brother Tom (né Thomas Lincoln Waring; 1902–1960), and their friend Poley McClintock founded the Waring-McClintock Snap Orchestra, which evolved into Fred Waring's Banjo Orchestra.[2] The band often played at fraternity parties, proms, and dances, and achieved local success.

Waring attended Penn State University, where he studied architectural engineering. He aspired to be in the Penn State Glee Club, but he was rejected with every audition.[4] His Banjo Orchestra became so successful that he decided to abandon his education to tour with the band, which eventually became known as Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians.[2]

He married Dorothy McAteer, his college sweetheart, in 1923 but divorced her in 1929. He remarried in 1933 to Evelyn Nair (1910–2004); the couple had three children, Dixie, Fred Jr., and William. They divorced in 1954,[4] following which Waring married Virginia Clotfelter (died 2013), adopted Virginia's son Paul from her previous marriage, and fathered a son, Malcolm. Fred Waring Jr. was a conductor and jazz trombonist. Grandson Jordan Waring is an orchestral composer.[5]



Records and radio


In 1922, Waring’s band attracted attention at a University of Michigan student festival in a gymnasium in Ann Arbor, Mich., leading to a six-week booking at a local theater. That engagement led to bookings in Detroit and other large cities, launching Waring’s national career.[6]

From 1923 until late 1932, "Waring's Pennsylvanians" were among Victor Records' bestselling bands.[7] In late 1932, Waring abruptly quit recording, although his band continued to perform on radio. In 1933, "You Gotta Be a Football Hero" was performed on radio to great acclaim. His 1930 recording of "Love for Sale" by Cole Porter is one of the few period versions of this popular song.

The Fred Waring Show was heard on radio in various forms from 1933 to 1957.[8]

Adding a men's singing group to his ensemble, he recruited Robert Shaw, recently out of the Pomona College glee club, to train his singers. Shaw later founded the Robert Shaw Chorale and directed the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Pembroke Davenport (1911–1985) was Waring's pianist and arranger.

During World War II, Waring and his ensemble appeared at war bond rallies and entertained the troops at training camps.[2] He composed and performed dozens of patriotic songs, his most famous being "My America". In 1943, he acquired the Buckwood Inn in Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania, and renamed the resort the Shawnee Inn. To promote the inn, he centered his musical activities at the inn itself. He created, rehearsed, and broadcast his radio programs from the stage of Shawnee's Worthington Hall throughout the 1950s.

Waring in the studio with Sinatra, 1964

During the 1940s and early 1950s, Waring and His Pennsylvanians produced a string of hits, selling millions of records. A few of his many choral hits include "Sleep", "Battle Hymn of the Republic", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Button Up Your Overcoat", "White Christmas", "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor", and "Dancing in the Dark".[9] In 1964 he recorded two albums with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby: America, I Hear You Singing and 12 Songs of Christmas, for Sinatra's Reprise label.

The song, "Breezin' Along with the Breeze" was used as a signature tune by Fred Waring.

Choral workshops


In 1947, Waring organized the Fred Waring Choral Workshop at his Pennsylvania headquarters in the old Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, which was also the home of Shawnee Press, the music publisher which he founded. At these sessions, musicians learned to sing with precision, sensitivity, and enthusiasm. When these vocalists returned home and shared what they had learned with fellow musicians, Waring's approach to choral singing spread throughout the nation. The first Fred Waring Music Workshop in the western United States was held in June 1968 as part of the University of Nevada's Summer Session curriculum in Reno, Nevada.[10] Waring taught and supervised these summer workshop for 37 years until he died.[2]



Waring expanded into television with The Fred Waring Show, which ran on CBS Television from June 20, 1948, to May 30, 1954, and received several awards for Best Musical Program. (The show was 60 minutes long until January 1952, and 30 minutes thereafter.) In the 1960s and 1970s, popular musical tastes turned from choral music, but Waring changed with the times, introducing his Young Pennsylvanians, a group of fresh-faced, long-haired, bell-bottomed performers who sang old favorites and choral arrangements of contemporary songs. In this way he continued as a popular touring attraction, logging some 40,000 miles a year.[2]

Waring blender

A logo used by Waring Corporation in the 1970s

In the 1930s, inventor Frederick Jacob Osius went to Waring for financial backing for an electric blender he had patented. The Osius patent (#2,109,501) was filed March 13, 1937, and awarded March 1, 1938.[11]

After an initial $25,000 investment, the Waring-owned Miracle Mixer was introduced to the public at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago retailing for $29.75. In 1938, Fred Waring renamed his Miracle Mixer Corporation as the Waring Corporation, and the mixer's name was changed to the Waring Blendor (the "o" in blendor giving it a slight distinction from "blender").

The Waring Blendor became an important tool in hospitals for the implementation of specific diets, as well as a vital scientific research device. Jonas Salk used it while developing his polio vaccine. In 1954, the millionth Waring Blendor was sold.

Waring is now a division of the Conair Corporation.



Waring died of a stroke at his summer home on July 29, 1984, in State College, Pennsylvania,[1] after videotaping a concert with his ensemble and completing his annual summer choral workshop. He conducted many such workshops at Penn State in his later years, and in 1984, designated Penn State to house his collection of archives and memorabilia. He also served his alma mater as a trustee and was named a distinguished alumnus of the university.

Awards and honors


In 1983, the 83-year-old Waring was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest honor for a civilian.[2]

Although many believe that Waring Commons at Penn State is named for him, it is actually named for his grandfather, William Waring. Fred Waring Drive is a major arterial road in the Palm DesertIndio area of Southern California where many major roads are named for post-World War II-era entertainers. Waring Drive in Delaware Water Gap which runs alongside the Castle Inn, Waring's base of operations for over 50 years, was named for Waring in 1991.[12] The Waring Golf Course north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was named after Waring, and he had an ownership interest in it. It ceased operation around 1960.

Waring was the Shepherd (president) of The Lambs from 1939 to 1942.[citation needed]

In 1997, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[13]

Comic strip collection

Cartoon by Chester Gould from the Fred Waring collection

Waring was a cartoon and comic strip collector. A Penn State meeting room by the West Wing restaurant has dozens of cartoons drawn by artists such as Al Hirschfeld in Waring's honor.

From 1943 to 1974, Waring owned the Shawnee Inn and Country Club, a golf resort located at Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania near Stroudsburg. In 1948, two years after the National Cartoonists Society was formed, Waring invited members of that organization to spend a day at the Shawnee Inn. It became an annual event, held each June for the next 25 years, resulting in a huge collection of artwork created for Waring by the cartoonists, including many drawn on Shawnee Inn stationery. The Fred Waring Collection has more than 600 cartoon originals, including over 50 of the laminated table tops.

Artists who contributed to the Waring Collection included Jay Alan, Alfred Andriola (Kerry Drake), Jim Berry (Berry's World), Charles Biro (Squeeks, Crimebuster, Daredevil), Martin Branner (Denny Dimwit), Ernie Bushmiller (Nancy), Milton Caniff (Steve Canyon), Mel Casson (Jeff Crockett), Chon Day, Steve Douglas, Bill Dyer (Patsy), Gus Edson (The Gumps), Eric Ericson, Gill Fox (Foodini). Frank Godwin (Rusty Riley, Patty Miles), Irwin Hasen (Dondi), Jeff Hayes (Silent Sam), Art Helfant (Patty Pinhead), Bill Holman (Smokey Stover), Stan Kaye, Bil Keane (Family Circus), Jeff Keate, Reamer Keller, Ted Key (Hazel), Lank Leonard (Mickey Finn), Jack Markow, Jay McArdle, Bill McLean (Double Trouble), Paul Norris (Jungle Jim), Bob Oksner (Leave It to Binky), Russell Patterson (Mamie), Clarence D. Russell (Pete the Tramp), Don Trachte (Henry) and George Wunder (Hotshot Charlie).[14]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Fred Waring, Conductor, Dies At 84". The New York Times. July 30, 1984. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Penn State: Fred Waring's America". Archived from the original on July 20, 2008.
  3. ^ "U.S. Patent and Trademark Office". Uspto.gov. Archived from the original on April 23, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Center For The Book: Fred Waring". Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2008.
  5. ^ "Artist Profile: Jordan Waring". Mmcrecordings.com.
  6. ^ Shackman, Grace. "Cinema's First Century". Ann Arbor Observer. Retrieved December 10, 2023.
  7. ^ "Waring's Pennsylvanians". Red Hot Jazz Archive. April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  8. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 269–271. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  9. ^ "LC Catalog – Legacy Catalog Retired". Catalog.loc.gov.
  10. ^ "NUB 18-16: University of Nevada. Summer Session. 1st Annual Western States' Fred Waring Music Workshop Records, 1966–68". Knowledgecenter.unr.edu. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  11. ^ "Canadian Patent #383356: Drink Mixer, August 15, 1939". Archived from the original on August 25, 2007.
  12. ^ "Waring Drive Historical Marker". HMDb.org.
  13. ^ "Palm Springs Walk of Stars". palmsprings.com. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  14. ^ "Fred Waring's Cartoon Collection". Digitized Collections. Penn State University Libraries. December 24, 2011. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012.