Bandleader, choral conductor, glee club pioneer, music educator, entrepreneur and renaissance man Fred Waring was a pioneer in every field of show business as well as music education and manufacturing. As the guiding force behind his large musical organization, he and his musicians earned accolades from listeners and critics alike throughout a career that spanned almost the entire 20th century.
The Fred Waring Collection, formally known as Fred Waring’s America: A Collection of Memories, part of Penn State University Archives in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, contains historical memorabilia reflecting Fred Waring’s nearly seventy-year career as a choral conductor and entertainer. For almost seven decades, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians entertained audiences throughout the world on stage, radio, television, records, and in motion pictures, and toured America and other countries. Known as “The Man Who Taught America How To Sing” and “America’s Singing Master,” he is credited with bringing choral music into the popular realm as well as with helping to make the popular song a classic American art form.
Waring and his group racked up many “firsts” along the way—they were the first to have a singing band, the first to use megaphones, to feature vocalists with an orchestra, to combine an orchestra with a glee club, to make one of the first full-length musical talking pictures, to originate the show choir concept, and the first to present weekly musical spectaculars on television.