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#Music

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

October Means ‘Rocktober’ The Defenbaughs Meets Elvis, 1957

Teenagers holding a photo of Elvis, 1957.

Back in the spring of 1957, Bloomington teenagers Nancy Defenbaugh and her older brother Jim were vacationing in Memphis, TN, with their family. Nancy and Jim kept pestering their parents Ted and Thelma to take them to Elvis Presley’s new residence, and their perseverance paid off. They visited what would be later known as Graceland (then outside Memphis city limits) and Elvis emerged from his house, got on a lawn tractor, and proceeded to motor on over and say hello.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 118: Acid Flashback! Local Rock Festival Held 45 Years Ago

Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival held outside of the McLean County community of Heyworth

This weekend marks the 45th anniversary of the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival held outside of the McLean County community of Heyworth, May 30 through June 1, 1970.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 101: Tin Pan Alley Bloomington-Style, 1953

Al and Edna Schroeder,  March 1953. Taken at their Bloomington home, 308 West Wood Street

Amateur songwriting duo, Al and Edna Schroeder, show off their latest record in their Bloomington home.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the week, 79: And a one, and a two, and a three …

In late July 1935, a large crowd gathered at the Miller Park bandstand to listen to the Pumpernickel Band, also known as the Spinach Blowers

In late July 1935, a large crowd gathered at the Miller Park bandstand to listen to the Pumpernickel Band, also known as the Spinach Blowers.

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Written by Guest Blogger in Volunteer and Intern Bloggers

Important Lessons Learned in a Unique Setting

While conducting a survey in the summer haze of the WGLT concert in downtown Bloomington, I had a conversation with two excited women who had just taken a break from dancing in the street. I asked them, “What would make you visit the McLean County Museum of History again?"

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Written by Bill Kemp in WGLT McHistory Series

McHistory: Bloomington Dramaturge Explored Gender Roles

Rachel Crothers is all but unknown today as America's most successful female playwright.

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Written by Susan Hartzold in Collection Highlights

What the heck is Julia LeBeau playing?

Miss LeBeau’s tin can xylophone was donated to the Museum in 1994 by her good friend Charles Ridenour who believedit needed an appropriate home.We agreed!

Julia LeBeau (1903-1994) was the daughter of George and Nettie LeBeau, owners of a Bloomington music shop. In 1906 she decided she wanted a xylophone, but her father didn't want to spend the money — he didn't think she'd stick with it. Instead, he built this tin-can xylophone for her, using fruit, fish, and vegetable cans purchased from a downtown Bloomington grocery.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 37: The “A” Train Stopped in Bloomington back in ‘72

Jazz great Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington and his band performed at the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts) on September 18, 1972.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 2: Don Munson & LaJean, 1968

Don Munson and Chimp

Museum Librarian Bill Kemp stumbled across this photograph while perusing a collection of recently donated photographs. Bill knew that the smartly dressed figure in the middle was Don Munson, the now-retired on-air WJBC AM 1230 morning radio personality. Without knowing the context of this curious find, Bill decided to email Don Munson, who still lives in Bloomington-Normal and hosts a delightful Thursday evening jazz program on WGLT FM 89.1, Illinois State University's Public Radio affiliate.

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