Maury Thompson

Aug 15, 2021

2 min read

Glens Falls music history — ‘Kitten on the Keys’

Jazz pianist and composer “Zez” Confrey was a big hit when he performed with The Paul Whiteman Orchestra at Whitehall on Nov. 6, 1922.

“’Zez’ Confrey, who presided at the piano, delighted the dancers with his rendition of ‘Kitten on the Keys,’ his latest number, ‘Dumb-Bell,’ and a number of other selections as only ‘Zez’ himself can render piano numbers,” The Post-Star reported the next morning.

“Kitten on the Keys” was inspired by the sound of his grandmother’s kitten walking on the keys of her piano.

The orchestra played for a ball — “a social triumph” — at the Whitehall Armory to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Whitehall Knights of Columbus.

About 600 people attended, including about 25 couples from Glens Falls.

“The huge drill shell had been transformed into a bower of beauty, and the attractive women handsomely gowned and their escorts in evening dress presented a gala scene which will long be remembered by the crowd that taxed the balcony of the armory to its capacity.”

Following are more music history anecdotes and trivia collected from historic newspapers in the Glens Falls region.

· On Sept. 4, 1971, The Post-Star reported that the Lake George Opera Festival had a record paid attendance of 9,536 for its 1971 season.

About 1,100 children and teens attended the free Young Audience Matinee series.

· The Salem Community Band added a new member on Aug. 29, 1971, just as it was about to begin its debut concert.

“At the last minute, Sunday, a Cambridge chap showed up, and a chair was gladly and quickly provided for him,” The Post-Star reported on Sept. 4.

Washington Academy Music Director James Brown conducted the concert.

“The setting on the lawn in front of the school was spacious and ideal. Toddlers were able to come with their mothers, tip toe around and count the railings of the main entrance, enabling the whole family to attend, bask in the sun or seek the shade, and have an enjoyable, restful hour.”

Click here to read my most recent previous Glens Falls music history post.