Iowa’s Own Music Man – Meredith Willson. No list of famous Iowans can be complete without a big 76-trombone tribute to my very favorite – Meredith Willson of Mason City – better known to the world as Iowa’s Music Man. In 1957, his first Broadway show opened – becoming an overnight sensation – winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running for 1,375 performances.
The Big Show – Meredith Willson’s Big Stage. In the fall of 1950, NBC-Radio debuted The Big Show – a high-budget, star-studded variety show designed to stop the public’s infatuation with the latest innovation in home entertainment – the television. While the effort failed to save radio, the show produced an abundance of amazing moments, including the debut performances of Meredith Willson’s classics: May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You, and The Iowa Fight Song.
May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You. In November of 1950, The Big Show on NBC-Radio introduced Meredith Willson’s song of blessing in its closing segment. Within weeks, America had a new favorite song – one that has shown amazing staying power even to today.
Meredith Willson & The Iowa Hawkeyes. Everybody knows that Iowa’s Music Man – Meredith Willson – made it big on Broadway, but fewer know that he loved the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, writing The Iowa Fight Song in 1950 and directing The Hawkeye Marching Band on numerous occasions – including the 1957, 1959 & 1982 Rose Bowls.
NBC’s Chime Master – Iowa’s Meredith Willson. In 1951, NBC celebrated its 25th anniversary, and in order to commemorate the special occasion, NBC-Radio executives asked their employee and long-time musical director – Iowa’s own Meredith Willson – to write a special song that paid tribute to NBC’s famed three-note trademark. By October, Willson had his tune – Three Chimes of Silver – written and recorded by a popular quartet of the day – The Mellomen – and the song debuted on NBC-Radio’s last big hurrah – The Big Show.
My Meredith Willson – Music Man Story. I owe a big thank you to Meredith Willson and his best-known work – The Music Man. When the movie version appeared in 1962 – I was enthralled with this Iowa love story – choosing music as my primary passion when entering high school and college in Iowa City.
The Music Man On Broadway – 2022. Sandy & I were honored to be a part of the first NYC tour group representing Meredith Willson’s hometown – Mason City – and the Hawkeye State at the newest Broadway revival of The Music Man – starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.