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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. This wonderful photo shows The Duke at that event chatting with Bob Pollitt (left) and Farley Sparks (right), both Pontiac residents with their own dance bands. Here's the link to the "Page from Our Past" article: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/pfop-duke-ellington-big-draw-in-twin-cities/article_4b282bd9-e069-54a6-8a25-c074bb29303d.html

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

Comments

Helen Giallombardo11/18/21 12:37pm

That’s my dad Farley Sparks, pictured here with Bob Pollitt and Duke Ellington! While going through my mom’s mementos of her college years at Bradley University, I saw her Chi Omega dance band bid (card) that showed Duke Ellington & Orchestra as the entertainment for the big shindig held at the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria. 1948 was the year, as I recall! The Duke was VERY popular in central Illinois. “Jazz Came Up the River from New Orleans” as the song goes!

Helen Giallombardo11/30/21 2:32pm

That’s my dad Farley Sparks, pictured here with Bob Pollitt and Duke Ellington! While going through my mom’s mementos of her college years at Bradley University, I saw her Chi Omega dance band bid (card) that showed Duke Ellington & Orchestra as the entertainment for the big shindig held at the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria. 1948 was the year, as I recall! The Duke was VERY popular in central Illinois. “Jazz Came Up the River from New Orleans” as the song goes!

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