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Charlie Vaccaro and His Orchestra * Savanna-Davenport

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Updated October 13, 2009, courtesy Mrs. Charlie Vaccaro

Visit the Ralph Slade Orchestra webpage to listen to Charlie Vaccaro of Savanna, Illinois singing popular songs heard over WOI radio in Boone, Iowa in 1939-1941.  The orchestra was the popular Ralph Slade Orchestra "Sweetest Band in Iowaland."  For more on the Ralph Slade Orchestra go to the Ralph Slade Orchestra webpage on this website.

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Mr. & Mrs. Charlie (Bernadette) Vaccaro at Danceland Ballroom Davenport Dec. 18, 1951

This photo of Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Vaccaro was snapped on December 18, 1951 at Charlie's graduation party from Palmer School of Chiropractic.  A great night at the Danceland Ballroom in Davenport.  Charlie was valedictorian of the class.
 
A special thank you to Mrs. Vaccaro for spending hours with me so we can enjoy this wonderful history of Charlie Vaccaro whose life continues to be an inspiration to those of from Savanna, Illinois.  Charlie graduated with the class of 1937 from Savanna Township High School.

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Large 25 x 40 inch poster at Col Ballroom in Davenport, Iowa 2007

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The Ralph Slade Orchestra was formed in Savanna, Illinois in September of 1934 as a 7-piece orchestra.  By 1937, the orchestra was becoming what is known as a territorial band with booking agent Vic Schroeder of Omaha.  The orchestra was now 10 pieces and included 17-year old Charlie Vaccaro who played bass fiddle but more importantly was a sensation on vocals with voice that rivaled any of the big name vocalists, Charlie's charismatic, smart good-looks helped Ralph Slade and His Orchestra too.  One story is that Ralph needed Charlie to play an important engagement at Roof Gardens in Peoria the night of Charlie's high school graduation from Savanna Township High School.  This 17-year old was there to play Peoria that night in 1937.

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Ralph Slade & Charlie Vaccaro circa 1940

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Charlie Vaccaro, the vocalist... recorded w/ Ralph Slade Orchestra in the late 1930's & early 1940's

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The Ralph Slade Orchestra in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on February 19, 1938.  Charlie Vaccaro is shown with the bass fiddle.  For details of the other sidemen in this photo, go to the Ralph Slade webpage.

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Charlie Vaccaro with The Ralph Slade Orchestra in 1939.  Charlie is second from the right.  For names of the other sidemen go to the Ralph Slade Orchestra webpage of this website.

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Charlie Vaccaro playing his bass fiddle with the Ralph Slade Orchestra at what appears to be one of the popular barn dances in rural America during the dance band era.  For more information go to the Ralph Slade Orchestra webpage on this website.

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Charlie's girl Bernadette Waddick (soon to be Mrs. Vacarro) stepped back stage to snap this close-up during the same barn dance as above with the Ralph Slade Orchestra.

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Charlie Vaccaro and his bass fiddle with the Ralph Slade Orchestra in 1939.  For names of the other sidemen go to the Ralph Slade Orchestra webpage on this website.

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Charlie with the Jack Willett Orchestra circa 1941... names will be added.

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Jamming at the Vaccaro Home 1941, Bernadette's spahgetti supper for husbands and wives

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Charlie Vaccaro with Al Schneckloth's Iowa Ramblers in 1948

Mrs. Charlie Vaccaro is writing a bio-sketch of her husband that will be provided here in the future.

Please contact slaw@grics.net or stevensorchestra@lycos.com with history you'd like to share.