×

ADVANCED SEARCH

songbook
songbook

Meredith Willson: The Man & His Music



Press play to hear a clip of Meredith Willson singing
an early version of "Seventy Six Trombones."

Growing Up in Mason City, Iowa

Willson learned to play the flute in Mason City, Iowa. Here he is with the Mason City Band (front row, second from the left) in front of the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse in 1919. Willson maintained a friendly relationship with Mason City throughout his life.

View item detail

View full-size image

Touring with the John Philip Sousa Band

View item detail

View full-size image

Hosting Radio and Television Variety Shows

View item detail

View full-size image

Hosting Radio and Television Variety Shows

View item detail

View full-size image

Writing Musicals: The Music Man

View item detail

View full-size image

Traveling Musicals: The Music Man Abroad

After its Broadway run, The Music Man was performed around the world, including in China, Poland, Iran, and Czechoslovakia. In 1972, Willson traveled to Poland to see the production of the Warsaw Operetta, a gesture hailed as significant for musical and cultural exchange during the Cold War. Here he is being welcomed at the airport by Polish director Stanislawa Stanislawska.

View item detail

View full-size image

Receiving Awards and Accolades

Willson was recognized for his generosity too. Throughout his career, he received many awards, both for music and for his philanthropy. Here he is accepting the 1961 Big Brother of the Year Award from President John F. Kennedy.

View item detail

View full-size image