Anita Kerr – revisited

With all of this talk of singing and reunion concerts – Collector’s Choice has just rereleased From Nashville… the Hit Sound from the Anita Kerr Singers – which first hit shelves in 1962. Anita Kerr and her singers were well-known – and often-used – backup artists on many of Nashville’s finest in the early ’60s. Kerr was a protege of Chet Atkins at RCA Records, having a hand in establishing the “Nashville Sound.” She went on to win Grammys and work with orchestras and other genres.

But I know Kerr for her work arranging choral music that I sang as part of a vocal jazz ensemble in high school. Our high school had an annual jazz festival and Anita Kerr was the guest of honor one year. We got to meet her and I had the extra pleasure of completely losing my timing during God Bless the Child and coming in a full beat too early (It was broadcast live as well, so the whole city could hear). In my defense, I’m terrified of singing in public and I’m very short, so I’m always way out front (I never messed up in rehearsal either – but I’ll stop there). Anyway, Miss Kerr was very nice and I wished I would have been more in touch with who she was and all that she had accomplished at the time.

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