Past Events - 2009 - Leroy Shield Tribute

    Waseca County Historical Society
    October 3, 2009
    Leroy Shield Tribute with Steam Heat
    Featuring music of Leroy Shield and other bands of the 1940s.

    Leroy Shield  
    Steam Heat  

    Leroy Bernard Shield (1893-1962) 
    Teacher / Performer / Arranger / Composer / Conductor

    Born in Waseca, Minnesota on October 2, 1893—After thorough training in music under artist teachers at the Columbia School of Music and academic work at the University of Chicago, Mr. Shield became interested in the advancement of radio music.

    As Conductor and Guest Conductor, Mr. Shield has many first performances of important new and rarely heard works to his credit, such as Schoenberg’s Pierro Lunaire, to list only one from many other significant contemporary works.

    In 1923 Mr. Shield joined the staff of the Victor Talking Machine Company as Conductor of Repertoire.  He was the pianist and musical director of Victor recording sessions.

    By 1929 he was assigned by Victor Talking Machine Company to work with Hal Roach to help convert his studio to sound.  At first Mr. Shield worked editing musical scores, but was soon asked to compose fresh music.  As a result of his uniquely charming background music, the world of Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang/Little Rascals, and other great clowns on the Roach lot would be changed forever.

    Leroy Shield was appointed Musical Director for the Central Division of the National Broadcasting Company in Chicago, Illinois in 1931. In the field of writing symphonic music for radio dramas, his work as composer and arranger is outstanding.  Millions of radio listeners heard both his original symphonic contributions as well as his educational broadcasts.

    In 1945 Leroy Shield relocated to New York to become the Conductor of NBC ‘s Orchestra Section.  In this capacity he worked closely with Conductor Arturo Toscanini.
    Leroy Shield retired in 1955.  He died in 1962.

    lthough Leroy Shield had an extremely productive professional life, his importance as a composer has rarely been recognized.  He was a major American composer.