Tuesday, March 1, 2016

30 Years Since Tribute to the Pioneer Women Musicians of Los Angeles


 Annie Patterson's Maiden Voyage
 at the Ambassador Hotel, March 8, 1986

Left to right: Ada Leonard, Marilyn Mayland, and Clora Bryant
On March 8, 2016 we will celebrate 30 years since the monumental event called the Tribute to the Pioneer Women Musicians of Los Angeles. Sometimes in our lives we know just what is the right thing to do!  This event was one of those things! 

I produced this luncheon and concert at the old Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was a project of the International Institute for the Study of Women in Music at California State University, Northridge, co-directed with Beverly Grigsby.  The idea of the luncheon developed out of a research project funded by the California Council for the Humanities entitled, "The Story of the All-Women Orchestras of California," which documented the history of all-female ensembles in the state. In conversations with Peggy Gilbert, it became clear that there should be a reunion of women musicians. Peggy provided names of many of the jazz musicians to be honored at the event.  The program honored 106 women musicians active in Los Angeles in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.  It featured performances of Peggy Gilbert and The Dixie Belles, as well as Ann Patterson's Maiden Voyage, a seventeen-piece big jazz band.  The event was the subject of an eleven-minute feature on the McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, heard coast-to-coast on PBS, and in Los Angeles on KCET. The event was also covered on Cable News Network (CNN). In addition, there was coverage by veteran TV journalist Ruth Ashton Taylor at KCBS.  The event was broadcast live on KPFK Radio in Los Angeles, hosted by broadcasters Fred Hyatt and Ruthie Buell. Music broadcaster and guitarist John Schneider was the event's emcee.

In the next blog, I will post the list of all the women who were honored that day.

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