By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
CLAREMORE PERFORMANCE: Patti Page returned to her place of birth for the “Destination Claremore” event in May.
Patti Page has become one of the most inspirational legends in the world of music. Born in Claremore, she recently returned for a special performance as part of “Destination Claremore” and enjoyed looking back on the memories of growing up in the area. She performed at the Robson Performing Arts Center May 6.
Of her favorite childhood memories, Page most often thinks back on her entire family sitting on their front porch playing music in the cool country air. “We didn’t read a note of music but very much enjoyed playing instruments and singing together.”
At the age of 18, Page decided to follow her interest in music and audition for a featured singing position on Tulsa’s radio. “I felt like I was on top of the world.”
Country music was very popular in Tulsa at the time. “I had a show with Leon McAuliffe, which primarily focused on country; however, we showcased a lot of other genres of music. Bob Wills was involved with the show. His swing band marked the beginning of the Big Band Era.”
In 1946, the well-known musician and manager Jack Rael happened to hear her voice on the radio. He immediately took note of her talent and invited Page to perform with the Jimmy Joy Band.
During the next year, Page signed a recording contract with Mercury Records and her career began to soar and has not slowed since.
Over the course of seven decades, Page has become a musical legend. She is noted in history as the first crossover artist to take country music to the top of pop charts with songs such as Mockin’ Bird Hill, Tennessee Waltz and I Went to Your Wedding.
With unimaginable opportunities, Page enjoyed making memories that will stay with her forever. “I had the honor of singing for five of the United States Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Reagan). These performances were in all different kinds of places including the campaign trail. It was very interesting and exciting.”
Page especially remembers her performance for President Eisenhower in Washington D.C. “I was leaving the rehearsal and walking to the Mayflower, where we were staying. The phone rang as soon as I walked into the room. A member of the advised me not to ask the President for an autograph. I said, ‘My goodness, where did you hear that?’ I only mentioned that walking to the room with my friend! We must all have been bugged!”
Page returned to Tulsa for some of her most memorable performances. “It was very special to perform in Tulsa. My family always came to my performances, which meant a lot to me.”
Of all of the places that Page has traveled throughout her career, she most enjoyed visiting South Africa. I always wanted to return to South Africa with my family. Specifically, Cape Town was everything that I had imagined it to be. The area was beautiful.”
For those who would like to follow in her footsteps, Page feels that one thing is very important. “Don’t give up. If you have the talent it will come through.”
For more information about Patti Page, visit www.misspattipage.com.