Lawrence Welk

Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903 - May 17, 1992) was a musician, accordion player, bandleader, and television impresario, hosting "The Lawrence Welk Show" from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans as "champagne music." He is a 1961 inductee of North Dakota's Roughrider Award. Contents [hide] Lawrence was born in Strasburg, North Dakota, as one of nine children to Catholic, German-speaking immigrants from the French portion of Alsace-Lorraine, via Odessa, Ukraine. The family lived on a homestead outside of town, which today still stands as a tourist attraction. ...show more

Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903 - May 17, 1992) was a musician, accordion player, bandleader, and television impresario, hosting "The Lawrence Welk Show" from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans as "champagne music." He is a 1961 inductee of North Dakota's Roughrider Award. Contents [hide] Lawrence was born in Strasburg, North Dakota, as one of nine children to Catholic, German-speaking immigrants from the French portion of Alsace-Lorraine, via Odessa, Ukraine. The family lived on a homestead outside of town, which today still stands as a tourist attraction.

The first year they lived there, they spent the cold South Dakota winter underneath an upturned wagon covered in sod.[citation needed] Never intent on being a farmer, Welk became interested in a career in music, convincing his father to purchase a mail-order accordion for $400. He made a promise to his father that he would continue to work on the farm until he turned twenty-one; in exchange, he would work on the farm and any money he made working elsewhere, whether doing formwork or putting on a show, would go to his family. Welk didn't learn English until he was 21 because he always spoke German at home. To the day he died, he spoke with a noticeable German accent.

When he was asked about his ancestry, he replied always with "Alsace-Lorraine, Germany"; this is explained in his autobiography, entitled "Wunnerful, Wunnerful!" On his twenty-first birthday, Welk, having fulfilled his promise to his father, left the family farm to pursue a career in music. During the 1920s, he first performed with the Lincoln Boulds and George T. Kelly bands, before starting his own orchestra. He led big band engagements in North Dakota and eastern South Dakota. ...show less