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In keeping with the Foundation’s mission to preserve, protect, and promote the music of the Fox Valley region, while providing music education to people of all ages and from all walks of life, we are on a journey of discovery to research and archive that rich musical history. The research data included here is just a sampling of what we've uncovered so far. If you're interested in supporting our educational efforts and research as a volunteer or a donor,  just contact us:

Musical Notes:

The Art Sheridan Interview 

July 2017

Art Sheridan was born in Chicago in 1925 and founded Chance Records in 1950. Chance specialized in Blues, Jazz, Doo-Wop and Gospel. Shortly after forming Chance, Art became a behind the scenes partner in Vee-Jay Records and went on to own several jazz clubs on the near north side. The Flamingos, The Moonglows, Homesick James and J.B. Hutto recorded for Chance, and while a part of Vee-Jay, he enjoyed success with Gene Chandler, The Four Seasons, and The Beatles, just to name a few.

Click the image to view the interview
Click the image to view the video

The Leland Bluebird Sessions

On May 4, 1937, the first in a series of recording sessions produced by Lester Melrose and Bluebird Records took place in downtown Aurora at the Sky Club, which was situated on the top floor of the 1926-built Leland Hotel. Unknown to the participants at the time, the sessions would later be considered historic, and would take part in the development of future recording techniques, the development of post-war Chicago Blues, and the birth of Rock and Roll.

Over 320 songs were recorded from May 1937 until the last session took place in December 1938. The very first recordings of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson took place on May 5, 1937. His iconic and Blues Hall of Fame song, "Good Morning, (Little) Schoolgirl" was recorded in downtown Aurora on that day. He was 23 years old.

Local Hero's Hot Licks:

Pat Bergeson and his Axe & Harp

Pat Bergeson, Nashville guitarist and harmonica player, is a Batavia native. He is the second oldest child of Ted and Ellen Bergeson, who have lived in Batavia for over 60 years, where Ted had a long career as City Engineer.

The younger Bergeson started playing the drums in third grade and was sure that he had found his passion. He drummed in the orchestra and band, attended summer music camp, and studied an array of percussion instruments: chimes, bells, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba and snare.  Percussion was his "main thing" until age 21.

A Legacy Unveiled:

A History of Minstrel Shows in Aurora, IL

East Aurora High School Band Director John R. McMullen completed his PhD dissertation, “A History of Music in Aurora, Illinois,” in August 1955 for his degree in Music Education.  As we reviewed the section for the time period from 1916 through 1928, as it related to Aurora’s east side schools, we found this intriguing passage:

“To raise money for uniforms, music, and instruments, the East Aurora High School boys staged a minstrel show.  From one performance a year, it grew to two, and recently the auditorium has been filled to capacity three nights in a row.  Band directors from all over the world have written to East High School asking how to stage such a minstrel show, and that alone tells the story of the fame the show has spread.”

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