On Dec. 12, 2015, Frank Sinatra would have celebrated his 100th birthday. But in a sense, the date is superfluous; Sinatra is a timeless American icon, as familiar to us as the ballads he helped popularize into what is called the Great American Songbook.
Jerry Kirkbride, professor of clarinet at the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music, will make a special presentation about Sinatra at the Arizona Senior Academy on Wednesday (Jan. 6) at 3:30 p.m. His talk, including clips and recordings, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth and include a quick survey of his recording career followed with a discussion of the importance of his work in keeping the Great American Songbook alive and well.
Although a classically trained clarinetist, Kirkbride comes naturally to this presentation on Sinatra, having created the course “American Pop Music: Sinatra Era,” covering the singer’s recording career and the songwriters responsible for what has come to called the Great American Songbook. He began teaching the class in 1989 and has continued every summer since.
“I have been a diehard Sinatra fan since the late 1950s, and I have a collection of all his studio recordings plus many recordings of his live performances” the professor added.
Kirkbride has had a long and distinguished career both in performance and teaching. For more than 40 years he was the clarinetist of the world-famous Dorian Wind Quintet, having toured extensively in Europe, the United States, Mexico and Canada. He was principal clarinetist for the Metropolitan Opera National Company and also held the chair of principal clarinetist for the Brooklyn Philharmonic for six years.
He joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in 1974. He recently finished a history of the Dorian Wind Quintet and has produced a Dorian Wind Quintet CD.
Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer