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#Music

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

The Duke in Pontiac June 11, 1957

Duke Ellington in Pontiac, 1957.

This is a photo of one of Duke Ellington’s many visits to this stretch of Central Illinois. Ellington and his orchestra performed at the Elks Country Club in Pontiac in June 1957.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival Lunch & Learn Talk Today, 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival, 1970.

A fascinating discussion was given on the myriad of court battles surrounding the May 30-June 1, 1970 rock & roll festival in southern McLean County. As seen in this photograph, not all of the estimated 60,000 spectators were hippies, yippies, freaks, Bohemians, peaceniks, avant-garde radicals, druggies, merry pranksters, flower children, long-hairs, or drop-outs!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Illinois Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home Home Band, 1930

ISSCS band, 1930.

The Pantagraph recounted the story of the Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home Band, organized in 1897-98 and active into the 1960s. This state-run home in north Normal changed its name to the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS) in 1931.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Happy New Year! Dale Miller’s Orchestra, mid-1930s

Dale Miller's orchestra, 1930s.

Beginning in Roaring Twenties, area ballrooms, dance halls and clubs featured tuxedo-clad bands (or orchestras, as they were often called) playing a heavily syncopated, post-ragtime, pre-swing jazz. These early jazz bands were in great demand come New Year’s Eve.
Seen here is the Dale Miller Orchestra in an undated publicity still.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Courthouse Caroling December 23, 1935

Courhouse Christmas Caroling, 1935.

The ninth annual “Community Christmas Carol Sing” was held on the McLean County Courthouse Square on December 23, 1935. Seen here are lead caroler Harold D. Saurer (holding the papers) and the Rev. Frank L. Breen.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Christmas Caravan, 1935

Christmas Caravan, 1935.

During the Great Depression 80 downtown Bloomington merchants staged a “Christmas Caravan” promotion to boost holiday retail sales. The vehicle in the background, equipped with a calliope and pulling trailers loaded with prize giveaways, passed through more than 50 Central Illinois communities. The idea was to generate excitement for a promotion involving downtown shoppers receiving gift certificates with each purchase.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

All I Want for Christmas … Lincoln School First Graders, 1965

Lincoln School first graders, 1965.

Back in early December 1965, these six-year-old first graders from Lincoln School in Bloomington could sympathize with the wishes expressed in the grating holiday novelty song, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G 1980 Towanda Grade School

Thanksgiving grade school play, 1980.

Towanda Grade School kindergartners perform Thanksgiving themed poems and songs for their parents the week of Thanksgiving 1980.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Rhythm Rollers … Rolling and Twirling Miller Park Bandstand, 1947 or 1948

Rhythm Rollers, 1940s.

The “Page from Our Past” feature in Sunday November 8, 2015's Pantagraph delved into the history of the Rhythm Rollers, Bloomington’s very own roller skating dance team active from the 1930s to the 1950s. Seen here is a rare action shot, taken at a 1947 or 1948 performance at the Miller Park bandstand on Bloomington’s west side.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

October Means ‘Rocktober’ Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival Aerials, May 31, 1970

Rocktober Kickapoo festivak, 1970.

The Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival was held outside of the McLean County community of Heyworth on L. David Lewis’ 320-acre farm over Memorial Day weekend 1970. Seen here are two aerials during the festival’s second day, May 31. The festival drew something like 60,000 young folk.

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