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Gloria Melancon

After high school, Gloria boosted her career ambitions by attending Patricia Stevens Finishing School in Atlanta and began her professional singing career as Gloria Bennett. Gloria cites June Christy, Julie London and the Four Freshmen as her early musical inspirations. She entered the Miss Atlanta Contest at age 19, and her rendition of “Walking My Baby Back Home” won her recognition as “Most Talented” runner-up.

Stints fronting various Atlanta dance bands followed and she toured heavily for several months as vocalist with George Doerner’s seven-piece, Savannah-based society dance band. During her tenure with Doerner’s band, Gloria performed a six-week engagement in New York City’s Roseland Ballroom. She became enraptured with jazz singing and remained in New York where she took a job as part-time secretary to Woody Herman’s manager’s office. She met various musicians there before she was hired for a long-term gig at the Rainbow Room with the Jerry Wald Orchestra.

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