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  • 1946 (Creation)


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On July 29, 1945, the USO hosted its first Music Festival at Point Defiance Park. Over 6,000 spectators were on hand to enjoy the concert. The main feature was a performance of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" by the 362nd Army Band of Fort Lewis. Cpl. William Sumner of New York City was the featured soloist. Cpl. Sumner was the solo pianist with the National Broadcasting Company before entering the Army. Other performers included the 29th Special Band directed by Sgt. Earnest Hayden and the 25 voice Naval choir from Bremerton, featuring baritone soloist Robert Brown. (TNT 7/29/1945, pg. 1; photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma)

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