What a huge surprise to learn that there is a Vaughn Monroe
web site. I was one of the original "Moonmaids" back in early 1946, and it
was a wonderful career for 4 1/2 years. We were 4 green college kids from
North Texas State Teachers College (now known as Univ. of North Texas) from
Denton, Texas. We were ages 17 -19 and life was just one big series of
exciting things for us. I'll let it go at that, but will say, that I
treasure that fun career which has established many friendships throughout
the years -- I still call so many of the band "friends" and keep up with
them. Thanks for the fun I've had in remembering those great years.
On Being Selected for the Band...
We were privileged to have been with Vaughn when he was "on
top" so to speak. We were so "green" and wide-eyed with the whole thing and
really couldn't believe it when we learned the job was ours. We learned
during exam week in Dec. 1945 that he had chosen us (sight unseen) to be his
new vocal group. Our home town of Denton, Texas where we were in our 2nd
year of college at North Texas State Teachers College, and everyone in the
whole town was excited with us!.... Of course, we were perhaps ready for
this big break, for we truly lived to sing! We'd sing for anyone who would
listen, studied other vocal groups, wrote our own arrangements, and had a
very sheltered life in that utopian small town near Dallas/Ft. Worth. We had
already had a tour of USO, touring on a hospital unit from Jacksonville,
Fla. to San Francisco, Ca. in 1944, and had a weekly radio show in Dallas
after our Freshman year in college. So, aside from some polish that we
really needed, we were ready vocally and had a good blend. We learned
quickly and had that same "protected" feeling in the band, for Vaughn did
NOT hire kooky musicians, much to my parents' relief.
On Working with Vaughn Monroe...
Now that I've read what Vaughn's nephew, Joseph, wrote about
his "Uncle Vaughn". I couldn't agree with him more, in that his memories of
Vaughn were always of a kind, gentle man -- I can vouch for that, because we
worked with him night after night in every kind of situation for those 4 1/2
years. He was forgiving of us when we missed a stage cue, he overlooked a
lot of our mistakes, he called us "his kids" -- I have a picture he signed
with that on it.
Yes, in a real sense there simply is NO Business like Show
Business!!!! Not only are your hours different, but you have to be flexible,
ready for any surprise that may come along.... like when Mary Jo almost
slipped and fell into the footlights when she stepped forward to sing a
small solo in one of our songs. This was at the Capitol Theatre in Wash.,
D.C. ----- Another time, Katie, after Vaughn had called us to take another
curtain call, in our haste to run off the stage, she (Katie) fell UNDER the
grand piano!! ----- Another time, June and I totally missed our cue for our
number with Vaughn. We were upstairs at a theatre, playing cards I think,
when we suddenly heard the music we were supposed to be singing. One half of
the Moon Maids (Maree and Mary Jo) were out on stage with Vaughn, and June
and I were so embarrassed and felt like crawling in a hole. Instead of
scolding us, Vaughn was every bit the gentleman and knew we were humbled by
Submitted by: Tinker (Cunningham) Rautenberg, the
youngest of that Texas quartet of gals.