Waring, Fred

Waring, (Frederick Malcolm) Fred

(1900–84) conductor, songwriter, inventor; born in Tyrone, Pa. By age 16 he was conducting his first small group of musicians, "the Banjazzatra," and while an engineering student at Pennsylvania State, he formed the Pennsylvanians with his brother Tom Waring. The group performed throughout the 1920s and even made the first all-musical movie, Syncopation (1929), but it was thanks to his many appearances on radio during the 1930s that Waring's Pennsylvanians became a national institution. His was also the first orchestra to have its own television show (starting in 1949). His soft melodies and lush orchestrations struck a chord with mainstream Americans and he was often invited by President Eisenhower to play at White House functions; although his style of music was pretty much overwhelmed by later developments, he gave his farewell concert at President Reagan's inaugural concert in 1981. Waring prospered greatly from his music-making; he also composed about 200 songs and formed the Shawnee Press, a major publisher of choral and band music. More surprisingly, he is also the man behind the Waring Blendor, one of the first electric food processors, which he patented in 1937 and perfected and marketed for many years.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.