I never liked the commercial world. It was a bunch of hypocrisy. I don’t drink or smoke. I don’t like nightclubs and never went to them. Around 1953, I got a letter from some students at Oberlin College asking if I could come there and sing. They said they couldn’t pay much, but they had a basement in the art department that held about 200 people, and they were sure if they passed the hat they could cover my bus fare. So I took a bus out to Ohio, and, sure enough, they passed the hat, and I made about $200. The following year I came back and sang in the chapel for 500 people. And then the next year I sang in the school auditorium, which held about 1,000, and we filled it. By the ’60s, I was singing in big state colleges. That, probably, is the most important work I ever did. It showed that in order to make a living as a musician, you didn’t have to go to nightclubs, hotels or radio stations.
—Photo by Econosmith
Category: In Their Own Words