Tune Tryouts and Community Auditions

Scope and Content Note

Off-air broadcast recordings of Schillinger House’s amateur talent competitions, Community Auditions and Tune Tryouts.

Produced in partnership with WBZ-TV, sponsored by Community Opticians (a Boston eyewear retailer), and hosted by Gene Jones and Vernon Williams, Community Auditions was one of New England’s highest-rated shows for years, airing from 1950 to 1986 (though Berklee’s involvement ended in the late sixties). Each week, Schillinger House faculty auditioned local talent, selected six acts to appear, and accompanied the acts on a live Sunday broadcast. Viewers voted for their favorite act by postcard. 

In 1952, Lawrence Berk created a second talent competition, Tune Tryouts,  in which amateur composers submitted original music to Schillinger House faculty, who then chose the top three songs (out of an average of 80 submissions per week) to be performed on the show. Viewers voted for their favorite song, an estimated 6,000 postcard ballots being received each week. Every fifth show, the previous four winners competed against each other. The show's regular vocalist was Schillinger House student Teddi King, who went on to experience commercial success in both jazz and pop. 

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