Skitch Henderson dies

Harley posted 11/02/05 12:34 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
From the Associated Press: "Skitch Henderson, the Grammy-winning conductor who lent his musical expertise to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby before founding the New York Pops and becoming the first "Tonight Show" bandleader, died Tuesday. He was 87. "
Malcoom Macfarlane posted 11/02/05 03:05 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Very sad to read this news. Skitch gave a wonderful tribute to Bing at Hofstra in 2002. A great man!
Sue Horn posted 11/02/05 04:56 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I just heard this sad news. I really enjoyed meeting him at Hofstra, and he seemed to be fit as a fiddle then. He had a cheerful and positive way of presenting his experiences. I feel lucky to have had this brief contact with him.
pat bonner posted 11/02/05 06:43 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
so sorry i missed skitch at hofstra; had to leave for some home emergency which was minor. he was a true giant who was a major figure in all genres of music. i remember him when i was 13 in 1950 on WABD with "cavalcade of bands". the one tape i have of him is a Philco show, with bing in'46. his mastery of the piano was so evident. bing referred to him as the youth skitch was. the WQXR report of his death today referred to bing's invention of "skitch" instead of "sketch" as his name. aqnother true giant leaves us.
Jane FitzGerald posted 11/02/05 09:08 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I remember going to a concert in Toledo with my parents years ago when Skitch conducted and entertained the audience with his stories. And it was such as treat to see him and meet him briefly at Hofstra. So glad now that I invested in the Hofstra tapes - I'll be listening the the panel with Skitch at lunchtime today. Hope he and Bing are having a great jam session together!
Dieter Beier posted 11/02/05 11:06 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Remembering Skitch Henderson´s fine accompaniments on Bing´s Philco shows.The radio version of The Christmas Song with Skitch´s ingenious piano play are certainly one of the finest moments-better than Bing´s studio recording.Another especially teamwork with Bing is All By Myself.Skitch-a musician with a very fine taste and ever a fine combination with Bing-although he played a total other style as Buddy Cole.God save Skitch´s soul.
Ron Field posted 11/03/05 02:16 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
'The Chronicle" - Centralia/Chehalis for 2/11/05 has an article on Skitch along with a photo taken 19/11/04 conducting the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.
The article was written by Matt Apuzzo of Associated Press.
The Bing quotes are (just in case people haven't seen this):

'...expertise to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby....'
'...played piano for Bob Hope's "The Pepsodent Show." His friendship with Hope put him in touch with other stars of the day including Crosby, who became a mentor to Henderson'

'..earned him the nickname "the sketch kid," which Crosby urged him to adapt to "Skitch." It stuck....

He served as musical director for (Sinatra) "The Lucky Strike" radio show and "The Philco Hour" with Crosby....'

And his real name - Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson.
I remember him saying this at Hofstra.
Farewell friend.
Ben Weaver posted 11/05/05 11:24 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There is a very interesting half page Obituary in one of our national newspapers Friday, Nov.4th. Bing is mentioned a number of times.
"He was often asked where he got the name Skitch. He said it was given to him by Bing Crosby, who told him the public would never remember proper names like Harry Lillis Crosby but couldn't forget him once he became Bing. Mr. Crosby began to call him the Sketch Kid because, as a rehearsal pianist, he made piano sketches for the orchestra.
"I could sketch out a score in different keys,a new way each time". he recalled. "Bing said 'If you're going to compete, get your name straightened out. People always forget Christian names, but they never forget nicknames'".
Eventually, Sketch became Skitch and the nickname stuck.
Bing Crosby went on to play an important role in his life. "He was like a guru for me," said Mr. Henderson. "Bing taught me stage presence and manners; he taught me a great deal."
Also, included was a couple of interesting photos with Skitch. One shows Skitch with Johnny Carson and the cast of the To-Night Show celebrating the first Anniversary of the show in October,1963. I wasn't aware of this before but it says that in 1940, "--heeding reports of bombs raining down on England, Skitch headed north and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Later,he found himself back in England as a fighter pilot with the RAF. When the United States entered the war in 1941, he transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Jim Kukura posted 11/05/05 09:47 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I remember that part of Skitch Henderson's story (at Hofstra) of his involvement with Bing in WWII consisted of Bing having Skitch transferred out of the Air Corps and assigned to accompany Bing with his overseas tour for service men and women in 1944.

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