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Helen Ward

Helen Ward was one of the most popular singers of the big band era, becoming a national sensation as vocalist for the Benny Goodman Orchestra.

Helen Ward was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1916, studied piano as a child before taking up singing, and by her early teens was on radio in New York. When she was 17 she worked with the Latin band of violinist Enric Madriguera.

In 1934 she was working as a staff singer at NBC's studios where Benny Goodman was playing on the Nabisco Let's Dance radio show. When Goodman set out on his coast-to- coast tour, Ward joined up as the band's singer and was an vital part of his breakthrough in August 1935. However, by 1936 she had had enough of one-night stands and the other hassles of touring, and left the band in 1937.

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All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.