"Keep a Song in Your Heart" The Music of Lawrence Welk, Fargo-Moorhead

Jazz Arts Band, Ramada Plaza Suites, Fargo, North Dakota, 7 November 2010

Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection: The Lawrence Welk Collection

"Keep a Song in Your Heart" The Music of Lawrence Welk, Fargo-Moorhead Event Brochure

Photographs by Michael M. Miller

Dresses on display from The Lawrence Welk Collection of the Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, Department of Apparel, Design and Hospitality Management, Collection of Human Developement and Education, North Dakota State University, Fargo

Dresses from Left to Right

  1. In 1956, Mrs. Lawrence Welk wore this blue silk jersey dress to a White House dinner in honor of the swearing in of the new Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Earl Warren. After the dinner, members of the Lawrence Welk band, under his direction, played for dancing. Mrs. Welk dance with President Dwight Eisenhower and Chief Justice Warren.
  2. Lois Best was the Lawrence Welk Orchestra’s original “Champagne Lady,” or lead female vocalist. Lois sang with the orchestra for a year and a half starting in 1939. She married Jules Herman in 1940, a trumpeter for the orchestra. They moved back to St. Paul, MN, to raise their family. In 1941 the Prom Ballroom opened and the Jules Herman Orchestra begin serving as its house band, continuing in this capacity until 1976. Lois wore this champagne colored knit formal in the 1970s.
  3. Lawrence Welk married Fern Renner in 1931. They had three children: Shirley, Donna, and Lawrence, Jr. Mrs. Lawrence Welk and the members of all the musicians’ families were present at the filming of the Christmas television episode each year. Mrs. Welk’s turquoise knit formal dress was worn by in the 1970s and was purchased at Robinson’s of Los Angeles.
  4. Norma Zimmer performed on the Lawrence Welk Show for several years before being named the fifth “Champagne Lady” in 1962. Norma continued with the show until the final taping in 1982.
    Norma wore this dress in the early 1970s during solos on the Lawrence Welk Show. Norma purchased this gown at Seattle’s Littner’s Fashions. She and her mother had window-shopped there when she was young. As Norma’s career progressed, she needed gowns for her solos. Norma said that she felt like she had made it when she bought this dress at Littner’s, a shop with clothing that she once was only able to admire.

Memorabilia on display from The Lawrence Welk Collection of the Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller