Finally: Symposium Highlights & Photos Apr 22, 2008 21:02:37 GMT -5
Post by Bill on Apr 22, 2008 21:02:37 GMT -5
Postcard Sent Out By Virginia Historical Society
On Friday, April 4, an unprecedented symposium on the life, times and music of Patsy Cline was held at the Virginia Historical Society in
Richmond, VA. Titled "Sweet Dreams: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline," the symposium was Co-Sponsored by the VHS and the Community History Project of Shenandoah University in Winchester, with support from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Norfolk Southern Railway.
"Sweet Dreams" brought together a number of noted scholars and historians to discuss the many factors (social, economic and musical) that influenced who Patsy was as both a person and beloved entertainer, how she in turn has influenced the generations of artists that have followed, and the impact she continues to have on popular culture.
Mark Willix and I began making plans to attend in early March. Mark contacted the Symposium's co-chair, Dr. Paul Levengood of the Virginia Historical Society, offering to coordinate a display of Patsy memorabilia for the Symposium. Dr. Levengood and the VHS accepted the offer, so Mark and I began planning the display and arranging the shipment/delivery of several items that would be used.
To accompany a glass-top display case offered by the VHS, Mark and his Partner Jimmy designed a tower cabinet (which was built by Mark's uncle) that could be transported from Georgia to Virginia and assembled on site for use as a 2nd display case.
Mark drove up to Knoxville early on Thursday, April 3, to pick me up. After rearranging and loading up, we hit the road about 8:30, arriving at the VHS in Richmond about 3:30. Dr. Levengood met us at the door, and took us to the area where the display would be setup. After unloading and assembling the tower cabinet, Mark and I began arranging items in the cases. While arranging the display, Dr. Warren Hofstra, from Shenandoah University in Winchester, stopped by and we introduced ourselves.
To match the themes of the Symposium, the display would be done in several stages. The glass-top case would feature items from the "beginning" through about 1960, which would be changed out half-way through, while the 2nd Case would feature the more "permanent" items.
Patsy Memorabilia Display
Original Playbill From Kansas City Benefit Concert, With Mildred Keith's Picture of Patsy Taken Backstage That Day
Original Singles of "Leavin' On Your Mind," "Sweet Dreams" and "Faded Love"
A Tribute To Mrs. Hilda Hensley, Featuring Some Original Handcrafted Items
Original US Armed Forces Transcription Discs
Most All Books About Patsy That Have Been Released
Patsy Cline: The Early Years (1955 - 1960)
Publicity Photos, Magazine Articles, Early Records, Sheet Music and More
Publicity Photos, Magazine Articles, Early Records, Sheet Music and More
Mark and I arrived at the VHS early on Friday morning to do some last minute tweaking of the display and to pick up our registration materials. The doors opened, and registration began, at 8:30. There were approximately 150-200 registered attendees, including a number of familiar faces: Jim Kniceley and His Wife (from Winchester), Dr. Doug Gomery, as well as George Hamilton IV and Mrs. Hamilton. We were introduced to some of the Symposium's session chairs and presenters, including Joli Jensen from the University of Tulsa and Andrew Flory from the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University. Judy Sue Huyett-Kempf and Karen Helm were also in attendance, and we spoke briefly. Regardless of past differences, it was good they could be there.
The first presentation of the day began at 9:30 in the VHS Lecture Hall. Dr. Bill Malone, who is a renowned scholar on Country Music, gave the keynote address "Patsy Cline and A Changing South: From Depression To Postwar Affluence," discussing the social, political and economic changes that occurred in the southern US during Patsy's lifetime, the migration of people from the country to the city, how those changes influenced Country Music, and how they all combined to help shape Patsy into the tremendous artist she was. And, in turn, how Patsy opened the doors and influenced the generations of female artists that followed.
Dr. Bill Malone Gives The Symposium's Keynote Address
During the first break, a troupe from Shenandoah University's Dance Ensemble performed "Suite Sweet Dreams," a quartet of dances choreographed to several of Patsy's songs, including "I Love You Honey" and "Stop, Look and Listen." The group is extremely talented, and the dance is an excellent tribute to Patsy.
The first joint session, "Dreams & Nightmares: Patsy Cline and Her Community," began at 11:00. There were two presentations in the session. The first, by Dr. Hofstra and Winchester Historian Mike Foreman, "The Cultural Worlds of Patsy Cline's Winchester," discussed the different social classes in Winchester, the differences between the different classes, how they perceived each other, and how close (yet how far apart) the different classes were both geographically and figuratively.
The second presentation, by Beth Bailey of Temple University, was "Patsy Cline and the Problem of Respectability." Ms. Bailey discussed how Patsy wasn't considered respectable by certain people, based on social conventions and customs of the era (i.e. what people just did and did not do, did not say, in those days), but that she couldn't be ignored and she was reflective of the changes in Southern and National culture that were taking place.
(NOTE: The clickable links in the title of each presentation will redirect to the Virginia Historical Society's website where the audio from each of the presentations can be downloaded.)
At the beginning of Ms. Bailey's presentation, Mark and I stepped out to reset the memorabilia display for the afternoon portion of the Symposium. The glass case was changed out to reflect Patsy from 1961 onward, while a few pieces were switched in the tower cabinet to reflect this same period. We also added some scrapbooks and a Platinum Album for "Greatest Hits."
Patsy Cline: The Lady and The Legend (1961 - Present)
Original US and International Records, Along with Original Period Photographs of Recording Sessions In Owen Bradley's Music Row Studios
In Addition To Patsy's US Decca Releases, Original Issue Records On the Brunswick (from the UK and Belgium) and Decca (from South Africa) labels Showcase Patsy's International Following
In Addition To Patsy's US Decca Releases, Original Issue Records On the Brunswick (from Spain and the UK) and Festival (from Australia and New Zealand) labels Showcase Patsy's International Following
In Addition To Patsy's US Decca Releases, Original Issue Records On the Brunswick (from the UK) and Festival (from Australia and New Zealand) labels Showcase Patsy's International Following; Also, A Picture Disc From 1985 and Original Period Photographs of Recording Sessions Held In Owen Bradley's Music Row Studios
RIAA Platinum Album Marking Sales of More Than 9,000,000 Copies of "Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits"
Photos Depicting Patsy On Stage In Saginaw, MI, the "Dream House" on Nella Drive, and a copy of Patsy's Handwritten Will; On Display, But Not Pictured, Are the "Remembering Patsy Cline" CD and An Invitation To the Dedication of Patsy's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame In 1999, Along With A Picture of the Star
Candid Photographs of Patsy On-Stage and Backstage, Three of the Most Important CDs Issued Since Her Death, and A Copy of Life Magazine From March 1963
During Lunch, the "Remembering Patsy" DVD was played on the big screen in the Lecture Hall that served as the Dining Room. I sat with fellow APC member Marshall Seate, and his niece, along with a lady from Fredericksburg, VA whose father played Fiddle in a band that backed Patsy on some local dates. When she asked where I was from, and I told her, she couldn't believe I would come all that way and asked how I found out about the Symposium. She then asked if I would like to see her Patsy collection.
It's not just a collection, it's a treasure. Among the items she brought with her was a group photo of her father's band with Patsy, several candid photographs of her (about age 10) with Patsy, Patsy at home in Winchester, plus a letter Patsy had written listing songs she planned to perform at a show in Fredericksburg (along with the keys Patsy would sing them in). A couple of the titles listed, that Patsy never recorded, were the Jim Reeves song "I've Lived A Lot In My Time" and the Marty Robbins/Guy Mitchell hit "Singing The Blues."
The second session, again comprised of two presentations, began after Lunch. Chaired by Andrew Flory, "Patsy Cline and the Major Media" delved into Patsy's probable musical influences, as well as the beginnings of Patsy's career in Washington DC.
While the list of artists who influenced Patsy is largely anecdotal, Kristine McCusker, of Middle Tennessee State University, gave insight into the probable candidates in "Walking After Midnight: Patsy Cline, Rose Maphis and East Coast Country Music." Rose Maphis was a contemporary of Patsy's, who grew up in the Maryland/Virginia area in roughly the same time period as Patsy. Based on interviews Ms. McCusker conducted with Rose Maphis several years ago, and Patsy's early image as a Cowgirl, one could look to Patsy Montana and many of the girl groups who appeared on the various regional and national Barn Dance/Jamboree Radio Programs in the '30's and '40's.
George Hamilton IV, in his presentation "The Early Years: Hard Times and Good Times For Country Music In 1950's Washington DC," reminisced about his first appearance on Connie B. Gay's "Town and Country Time" in 1956 at age 19, his introduction to Patsy, and how she kidded him (based on his attire) of trying to be "The Pat Boone of Country Music."
George Hamilton IV Reminisces About Patsy During His Presentation
George talked about the first time he saw Patsy, she was singing "Life's Railway To Heaven," which was his grandfather's favorite song. Patsy gave George the advice to watch Jimmy Dean, because George would learn all he needed to know about show business if he did. George also became very emotional when he said that Patsy was not the person many of her early critics said she was. Patsy was beautiful inside and out, and had a heart that was bigger than her voice. George also said that, although Patsy and Connie B. Gay had a falling-out, Connie was quoted in the later years of his life as saying that "Patsy Cline was the best female singer that ever walked the face of the Earth." George emphasized, "He didn't say best female country singer. He said best female singer, period." At the end of the session, Andrew Flory recognized Karen and Judy Sue in the audience.
During the third break, samples of some of Virginia's finest food products were offered in the Gift Shop area. Many of those attending also browsed the Gift Shop, where books written by many of the Symposium's presenters were on sale, along with an assortment of Patsy Cline CDs and DVD's. A new and updated edition of Ellis Nassour's book, "Honky Tonk Angel," was also available for purchase. A few new pictures are included, along with a new chapter that discusses most everything that has happened since the book's original publication in 1981 (as "Patsy Cline") and the 1993 update and title change. This includes the Fan Websites, the Fan Club, the Plane Parts Auction, the dispute between Sam and Sylvia surrounding Hilda's estate, and the auctions of Patsy's clothing and costumes that resulted from the dispute.
The third and final session of the day, "Sound and Image: Varieties of Patsy Cline," was chaired by the VHS's Dr. Paul Levengood. Dr. Levengood thanked everyone for attending the Symposium, thanked Mark and I for bringing the display, and made a few reminders about the rest of the day's events.
As with the other sessions during the day, there were two separate presentations. Jocelyn Neal, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, opened her presentation "Mixing Styles, Making Styles: Analysis of Patsy Cline's Nashville Sound," by relating her own dreams of being a Country Singer. A huge fan of Reba McEntire, she began buying every Reba tape she could find. Then, learning that Patsy was a big influence on Reba, began buying every Patsy tape she could find.
Jocelyn discussed how the "Nashville Sound" was developed, the roles of Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins, how Patsy blended with the new sound, and how the "Nashville Sound" evolved to the point that it fell out of favor in the late '70's as artists/fans gravitated to the Outlaw movement and back to "traditional" Country Music. And, with the changes continually taking place in Country, how the definition of "traditional" keeps changing and how Patsy is now viewed by some as "traditional."
Joli Jensen, from the University of Tulsa, became a fan of Patsy in the late '70's and used her savings to go to Nashville to meet and interview people like Owen Bradley about Patsy. In her presentation, "Whose Patsy: Image, Cooptation and the Celebrity Process," Joli talked about how she was initially met with amusement and skepticism about her interest in Patsy, and about those in the business who thought she might be using Patsy as a way to get her own foot in the door for an audition/career. When she went to do research at the Hall of Fame, she was told "Patsy's not really Country."
During the presentation, Joli talked about how popular culture has taken the "various" Patsy's (Cowgirl, Opry Star and Vegas Performer) and morphed them into one "Iconic Patsy" that is a combination of them all. She ended the presentation with the question "Can we study Patsy and still love her?" As Mark told her later, "I study Patsy because I love her." Joli replied "Exactly." I think we all agree with these sentiments.
During the discussion that followed, it was brought up how Patsy was changing her style from the Cowgirl of the early days to a more sophisticated wardrobe, hairstyles, etc. I brought up the letter that Patsy wrote to Nudie's of Hollywood (see the "Sparkle & Twang" post in the Scrapbook section of this forum) the week before the plane crash where Patsy was commissioning two Western style dresses, showing she hadn't completely given up on the Cowgirl style.
After a Dinner Break, we returned to the VHS for a fun-filled evening concert starring George Hamilton IV, Jimmy Dean and Donna Meade Dean, with local talent Sara Arthur, Kelli Moss and Terri Simpson. Richmond Radio Personality, Tim Timberlake, served as Musical Director, with music provided by Brad Spivey & The Honky-Tonk Experience. Sara, Kelli and Terri each performed three of Patsy's songs and George performed several of his hits including "A Rose and A Baby Ruth" and "Abilene."
Donna performed "Crazy," and told a story about recording her final album with Owen Bradley. She was "rusty" after not having performed for a few years and broke down during the sessions when she couldn't hit certain notes. Owen gave her some comforting words while telling her the story of when Patsy was initially trying to record "Crazy" and how Patsy did the same thing, but came back to the studio with a determination that he hadn't seen before and nailed the song in one take. Jimmy told stories about his friendship with Patsy, then launched into "Big Bad John" with everyone singing the chorus.
Sweet Dreams Symposium Concert
Brad Spivey & The Honky Tonk Experience
She Gave A Performance of "So Wrong" That Will Make Your Hair Stand On End, Recasting It As A Great Jazz Ballad
Donna Meade Dean
He Remarked About Using the Wheelchair "When You've Been Married 18 Years To A Woman 20 Years Younger Than You. . ."
Jimmy and Donna
On stage, during the concert, was a limited edition Hatch Show Print of Patsy, along with a Jacket worn by Jessica Lange in the movie "Sweet Dreams" (on loan from Winchester resident and APC member Linda Ross) and the Microphone and Station Flag from WINC in Winchester. A picture of these can be found in Tim's Music Journal, a blog by Tim Timberlake.
And, with the conclusion of the concert, the Symposium ended. It was a great day celebrating the life, music and cultural contributions of the great Patsy Cline.
May we forever have "Sweet Dreams."
EDITED BY ADMIN: Corrected Link For Concert Program