Lawrence Welk Museum, Escondido, California
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
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A few miles north of Escondido California on Champagne Boulevard is the Lawrence Welk Museum, the centerpiece of Lawrence Welk Resort village.

Lawrence Welk was an accordian-player-turned-conductor of a big band. The band was augmented by a few string players, accordions, guitars, and various singers. The Lawrence Welk band or "Champagne Music Makers" played a weekly television show which ran continuously from 1955 to 1982. The Lawrence Welk musical style is summarized eloquently by Nicolas Slonimsky in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians:

His use of an accordion section in his arrangements, steadfast rhythmic beat, and sentimentalized tempi imparted to his renditions a rudimentary sound quality that made him a favorite with undiscriminating audiences.

Essentially, the Lawrence Welk band was the finest of mediocrity. Lawrence Welk's unusual speaking accent introduced several peculiarly pronounced phrases into the popular vernacular, including: "a one an a two" and "wunerful wunerful." Lawrence's personalized license plate was "a1 an a2."

After amassing a large personal fortune, Lawrence founded the Lawrence Welk resort village. The Welk resort is a vast complex which includes vacation time shares, gift shops, restaurants, an Auditorium, the museum, and of course, several golf courses. Lawrence was an avid golfer. Having built a lavish resort covering many square miles, Lawrence could well afford to put his personal residence within walking distance of the first tee, allowing him to golf every day. With essentially unlimited funds, what housing did Lawrence create? Lawrence created a trailer park on the resort grounds so he could place his personal triple-wide trailer residence next to the first tee. Lawrence Welk was consistent in his approach to both housing and music, both being the finest in mediocrity.

Visit the Lawrence Welk Resort web site.


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