Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blue Star Museums

This summer the Museum is once again participating in Blue Star Museums, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and more than 1,000 museums across America, to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2011.  We are proud to offer this program to the men and women who serve our nation, along with their families who often have a loved one deployed overseas. The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention Common Access Card (CAC), A DD Form 1173 ID Card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID Card, which includes active duty military and their immediate family members, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves.    

"America's museums are proud to join the rest of the country in thanking our military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifice," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, who announced the program on May 23. "I cannot imagine a better way to do that than welcoming them in to explore and enjoy the extraordinary cultural heritage our museums present. The works of art on view this summer will certainly inspire and challenge viewers – and sometimes they will just be a great deal of fun."   

"There have always been wonderful examples of partnerships between museums and military installations, but the scale of this gift from the museum community to military families is thrilling," said Blue Star Families Chairman Kathy Roth-Douquet. "Military families work hard for this country, and it is gratifying for us to be recognized for that. We anticipate that thousands of military families will participate in the program and visit museums this summer – many of them for the first time. Blue Star Families will work hard to help our military families make the most of these opportunities."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Louis Armstrong Plays Vallejo

On this day in 1942 jazz legend Louis Armstrong played at the ballroom of the Casa de Vallejo. That swank hotel, along with the Veteran's Memorial Hall, Farragut Hall, and other local venues, were popular stops for touring jazz and big band acts in the 1930s and 40s. The day before Armstrong's show, the Vallejo Times Herald promoted the concert with the following:

"Onward continues the parade of 'musical giants' in Vallejo as Frank Smith presents America's leaders on the Name Band horizon. Last week it was Paul Whiteman, "King of Jazz." This week it will be Louie [sic] Armstrong "World's Greatest Trumpeter." Armstrong appears in the Casa de Vallejo ballroom Friday evening with his celebrated orchestra. He is not only considered the world's greatest trumpeter but is also the world's highest paid colored musician. He brings with him his entire musical aggregation intact, with a galaxy of "swing" stars including his two famous and sensational vocalists Sonny Woods and Velma Middleton. Other stars with the band are Luis Russell, Paul Barbarin, Jay C. Higginbotham, "Pop" Foster, and Joe Garland. While Armstrong and his troupe have appeared here before, it will be the first appearance locally of his singing star, Velma Middleton. Those who have heard her singing with the band in engagements in Oakland and San Francisco rave about the excellent voice of this singer."