I am posting this on behalf of my father, Fred Rohn, who passed away on June 2. He was very excited about the May release of his most recent book, Encounters: Relationships in Conflict, a collection of short fiction. Prior to that, I worked with him to publish his memoir, A Fortunate Life, a chronology of personal reflections in the context of growing up during the Depression and World War II.
Music was a very important part of my father’s life. He loved the big band sound and especially enjoyed how many instruments came together to make music.
Below are some excerpts from his chapter on music in A Fortunate Life…
“I grew up in an era of fifteen member ‘swing’ bands, in the years between World War I and World War II.”
“Gas rationing during World War II forced the closing of the supper club venues and the bands played in smaller, downtown locations, close to bus and trolley mass transit. It was both illegal and unpatriotic to drive a car just to hear a band, even if you had some gasoline coupons unused. So, my friends and I, often in my high school years, would take a bus on Saturday mornings to Newark where the Adams Theater on Branford Place housed a succession of big bands in concert.”
“I’m still comforted by this music, at times in awe of its ability to get the best out of both the instruments themselves and the musicians playing together as a team. It is my kind of music, an integral part of growing up during the mid-twentieth century.”
…and for those who want the full experience of the music he enjoyed so much, take a look at this playlist, a collection of songs and artists that formed the backdrop of his life.
On the Sunny Side of the Street, Keely Smith
In the Mood, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You, Tommy Dorsey
Misty, Erroll Garner
(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco, Tony Bennett
Embraceable You / I Got It Bad, Louis Prima & Keely Smith
At the Woodchoppers Ball, Woody Herman
Stompin’ at the Savoy, Erroll Garner
Mack the Knife, Bobby Darin
Ciribiribin, Harry James
Hey, Boy! Hey, Girl!, Louis Prima
I’m In the Mood for Love, Erroll Garner
Moonlight Serenade, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
Beyond the Sea, Bobby Darin
When You’re Smiling / The Sheik of Araby, Louis Prima
Swingin’ On the Moon, Mel Tormé
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Mel Tormé
Just a Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody, Louis Prima
Click here for more information about A Fortunate Life.
Encounters was published on May 4. You can learn more about his short stories here.
I will continue to keep this blog and website active, so please come back and visit!
Book Club Mom