June 18 at ARSC in New York City – Hal Kemp

Please join us if you are able!

hal kemp band

ARSC New York Chapter

JUNE 2015 Meeting

7 P. M. Thursday, 6/18/15

At the CUNY Sonic Arts Center

West 140th Street & Convent Avenue, New York

or enter at 138th Street off Convent Avenue

Shepard Hall (the Gothic building) – Recital Hall (Room 95, Basement level)

An elevator is located in the center of the building


Presented by

David N. Lewis and Rebecca Forste

Before Benny Goodman’s second Palomar Ballroom engagement in 1936, which crowned him the “King of Swing,” few would’ve argued against the popularity and relevance of bandleader Hal Kemp (1904-1940), who was leading one of the top bands in the nation. Starting with a small dance band at the Carolina Club at UNC-Chapel Hill in the early 1920s, Kemp became a dominant force in the early years of Swing, noted for his innovations, musical ambition, excellent sidemen (including Bunny Berigan) and first rate vocalists, such as Skinnay Ennis, Bob Allen, Maxine Grey and The Smoothies. With his early death on the eve of World War II, Kemp was forgotten, and in the years since, critics have often miscategorized his music as “sweet” or “Mickey Mouse” or misrepresented his orchestra as a “funny hat band.” Kemp maintained a varied slate of sophisticated and sweet, introducing several songs now regarded as standards. Their book included some of the most advanced charts of the time by such composers as Reginald Foresythe, Raymond Scott, Sid Phillips and Kemp himself. This presentation will serve as an overview of Hal Kemp’s career, including film clips, recording excerpts and a demonstration of his invention, the clarinet megaphone.


David N. “Uncle Dave” Lewis has been an ARSC member since 1999. He has presented at several ARSC Conferences since giving his first talk in Santa Barbara in 2002 on the subject of the obscure bandleader Harry Spindler. Lewis ran the underground record label Hospital Records out of Cincinnati in the 1980s and has had a long presence in public radio, appearing in years-long programs on WAIF (Cincinnati) and WCBN (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan). He worked as a classical music buyer for West Coast Tower Records and Virgin Megastore locations in the 1990s and spent a decade as an editor for the All Music Guide, now RoviCorp. Today he presents monthly lectures at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on topics relating to the music and recording industry in the Ohio Valley, and is an historian and producer for WVXU, the NPR affiliate in Cincinnati. His radio piece on bandleader Earl Fuller won an “Excellence in Journalism” award from the Society for Professional Journalists.

Rebecca Forste is new to ARSC and recently made her debut as a reviewer in the ARSC Journal; however, she is no stranger to journalism, having worked as a contributor and editor for a variety of publications.


Subway: Take the 1 train to 137th Street City College and walk north to 140th St. & Broadway,

then go east to 140th St. & Convent Avenue. Take the A, B, C, or D trains to 145th St, go south on St. Nicholas to 141st St, (one long block), then west one block to Convent Avenue, and south one more block to 140th & Convent Avenue.

Bus: M4 and M5 on Broadway; M 100, 101 on Amsterdam Ave. (one block West of Convent Avenue)

The Sonic Arts Center at CCNY offers 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Music with a concentration in Music and Audio Technology. Their program provides an in-depth curriculum emphasizing real-world skills with a project-based approach. Students enjoy a well-rounded program, with emphasis on audio technology, music theory, orchestration, and history to help them compete in a field that today demands an ever-growing and highly diverse skill set.

All ARSC NY Chapter meetings are free and open to the public.

Voluntary contributions to help defray our expenses are welcome!

To join ARSC, visit http://www.arsc-audio.org



One thought on “June 18 at ARSC in New York City – Hal Kemp

  1. […] June 18 at ARSC in New York City – Hal Kemp. […]

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