Cast of Characters.
People We Like.
Martha. Martha Boswell Lloyd (July 9, 1905 – July 2, 1958)
Connie. Constance Boswell Leedy (Dec. 3, 1907 –Oct. 11, 1976)
Vet. Helvetia Boswell Jones (May 20, 1911 – Nov. 12, 1988)
Meldania. Meldania Foore Boswell (Nov. 16, 1871 – July 6, 1947)
Mattie. Martha Foore Boswell (Nov. 6, 1874 – Aug. 21, 1964)
Charlie. Charles Raymond Boswell (1874 – July 28, 1940)
A.C. Alfred Clyde Boswell (Nov. 7, 1882? – Sept. 1, 1944)
Clydie. Alfred Clyde Boswell, Jr. (Feb. 23, 1900 – Oct. 23, 1918)
Harry. Harry Lipsick Leedy (July 5, 1907 – Jan. 1, 1975)
Major. Major George Lawrence Lloyd (1893 – July 15, 1955)
Johnny. John Paul Jones (Oct. 26, 1904 – Feb. 10, 1958)
Baby Jules. Jules Picard Lloyd (Aug. 9, 1926 – Aug. 21, 2004)
Chica. Vet "Chica" Boswell Jones (Aug. 22, 1936–Oct. 29, 2010)
Davis Boswell, Jr. (1846, Ill. - Nov. 24, 1917, Birmingham, Ala.)
William A. Coker (Promotive Director, New Orleans Athletic Club, 1929)
Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903, Tacoma, Wash. - Oct. 14, 1977, Spain)
John Carlock Foore. (Jan. 23, 1834, Ill. - Nov. 20, 1888, Kansas City)
William Davidson Fore. (Oct. 2, 1812, Va. - Dec. 13, 1893, Mo.)
Emmett Louis Hardy (June 12, 1903, Gretna, La. - June 16, 1925)
Jules Picard (Married Martha Boswell on Oct. 8, 1925)
Martha Jane Reynolds. (Dec. 7, 1834, Mo. - Jan. 31, 1894, Kansas City)
Jim Von Schilling
Music always had a big role in Jim Von Schilling’s life, but one day while turning his radio dial, he chanced upon a recording that was unlike anything he’d ever heard before. It was Shout, Sister, Shout by the Boswell Sisters, being played by a Fordham student, Rich Conaty, on his new college radio show, The Big Broadcast. The next day, Jim found and purchased the one Boswell Sisters album available (The Boswell Sisters–1932-34 on Biograph) and dove into its liner notes by Michael Brooks for his first education on these amazing jazz vocalists. The radio show, album, and liner notes began a new passion for him and literally changed the path of his life. Jim started researching, writing, and teaching about the history of popular music, and one of his first articles was about the Boswell Sisters. This led him to meet Vet Boswell, speak with Connee Boswell, and connect with many other Boswell researchers and enthusiasts over the years. With all Jim has researched and explored, he still finds nothing quite as special and satisfying as a Boswell Sisters’ recording! Jim is also the editor of The Boswell Legacy book.
Cindy Adelman Frank
A longtime devotee of harmonic singing, Cindy Frank spent a lifetime driving her children crazy by her insistence on listening to everything from barbershop quartets to The McGuire Sisters and the Mills Brothers— whenever and however she could. That intensely private listening pleasure exploded into a public crusade, however, when she accidentally came upon a recording of The Boswell Sisters singing Crazy People. It was the sound she'd been waiting for all her life. A heady immersion into the Boswell sound and legend followed. A former book publishing professional, Cindy is convinced that the time is perfect for the Boswells to take their rightful place in the pantheon of great jazz and popular artists. And she is just as convinced it's the right time for their remarkable story to at last be told by the one person who can truly tell the tale: Vet's granddaughter, Kyla Titus.
Memrie Innerarity Kelly
Memrie Innerarity, a native of Mississippi, has sung as a
featured soloist with the New Orleans Symphony and Mobile Symphony. She received an Obie for Tommie Tune’s The Club, appeared with Deborah Kerr in The Last of Mrs. Cheney, and appeared in A Rat’s Mass at LaMama ETC, in which she also served as assistant to jazz composer Cecil Taylor. In the production The Heebie Jeebies, about the Boswell Sisters, she played Martha Boswell, in both the Berkshire Theatre Festival and the NYC productions. She has served as musical director for Golden Fleece Ltd., the Westchester Conservatory, the Northern Westchester Center for
Performing Arts, the Dallas Theatre Center, and many musical productions in NYC and regionally. She has composed many works for the musical stage as well as many choral works. Now living in Berkshire County, Mass., Memrie has recently taken up fiddling with some of the many excellent musicians who live near her. She is an active member of the New York Composers Circle, a member of Actors Equity (ret.) and the American Federation of Musicians.
A lifelong Boswell Sisters fan, Dan Morgenstern retired in 2012 after 35 years as Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, the largest archival collection of jazz materials anywhere. He was editor of the magazines Metronome, Jazz, and Down Beat. His books "Jazz People" and "Living With Jazz" both won ASCAP's Deems Taylor Awards. A prolific writer of liner notes, he has won eight Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes. In 2007, he was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. Still active as a writer and broadcaster, Morgenstern is co-editor of the Journal of Jazz Studies, a contributing editor of Jersey Jazz, and founder and co-host of WBGO's "Jazz from the Archives." Dan, having known Vet Boswell and her daughter Chica, recently met the third Boswell Sisters generation, granddaughter Kyla Titus, at the 39th Annual Jazz Record Collector’s Bash on June 21, 2013.
Francesca, a native of Italy, has pursued a highly eclectic career as tap and jazz dancer, comic character actress, and jazz vocalist and instrumentalist. Having completed a study of female vocalists of the 1920s and 1930s, she was awestruck by the harmony of The Boswell Sisters, and quickly formed the trio The Boop Sisters, recording two CDS: Boop and Bibidi Bobidi Boop! Francesca studied acting at La Scaletta Theatre School, classical singing with Emanuela De Santis Salucci, classical ballet with Enrique Gutierrez and Flavio Bennati, jazz dance with Leontine Snel and tap dance with Connie Spadanuta and Lori Warner. In the U.S. she has studied trumpet with Laurie Frink and Vincent Penzarella and dance theatre with Dana Moore, Tony Stevens and Chet Walker. She is a graduate in History of the Theatre from La Sapienza University of Rome and co-author of a biography of musician, actor and jazz historian Lino Patruno entitled Una Vita in Jazz e Non Solo (2000).
Randall Riley is an Austin-based, independent filmmaker and audio engineer who was enchanted by the Boswell Sister sound while in his teens. Since then, he has collected all of Connee Boswell's solo recordings, produced the documentary "Connee Boswell-Life is a Song" (premiered at the Boswell Centennial in New Orleans), and digitized the Boswell Museum's audio collection and David McCain's 5,000+ page clipping collection, both of which were donated to the Historic New Orleans Collection. His company, The Swing Shift, specializes in digitizing and remastering vintage audio recordings.
Aura Lee Emsweller
Aura Lee traces her healthy obsession with Boswell Sister music to a Kentucky childhood chockfull of harmony singing, from barbershop around the family piano to Gospel with the Junior Choir at church to transistor radio sing-alongs of Do-Wop and Bluegrass. Her parents’ Columbia Record of the Month Club selection of Louis Armstrong’s’ Hot Five graced her with her first chance to chime in with Heebie Jeebies. At 14, she harmonized in the pop/rock band she started with her brother, Bill. A folk trio followed in high school and another when she was studying Communications at Boston University. A band which performed and recorded in Germany and Switzerland led to the eclectic show band, Wildwood (Houston) and later the 1930s focused group, Sportin’ Life (L.A.). All this gave her an immediate shock of recognition of the unique brilliance of the Boswell Sister blend and arrangements upon first hearing their music. Aura Lee sought out Vet in 1977, and had the honor of being part of a small, dedicated group of Boswell Sisters’ enthusiasts spearheaded by music historian David McCain, that gave the sole surviving sister an opportunity to relive the glory days with her sisters as well as the growing confidence that a younger generation appreciated and would preserve the Boswell Legacy. As a Board Member of the not-for-profit Writers in the Round Music School, in Houston, Texas, she is continuing to provide Master Class Harmony Workshops, where Boswell Sisters music enlightens members of yet another generation to the high standard established by “The World’s Foremost Harmonists.”