© Frances White (885767124554)
A new recording in 2012 by Frances White. (85 years).
"Chickie" is her stage name,.She is releasing her first CD at Courtyard Village, where she lives with her husband, Ed, 87.
She recorded the CD as a legacy for her son.
|1. Ain't Misbehavin||2:34|
|2. South of the Border||2:25|
|3. Crush On You||2:27|
|4. Stormy Weather||2:41|
|5. Dont Get Around||2:27|
|6. Cry Me a River||2:27|
|7. My Ideal||2:43|
|8. Paper Moon||2:05|
|9. Thought of You||2:00|
She was born in 1926.
Being of Japenese ancestery, her family was evacuated from the west coast , When she was 15, following the outbreak of WWII,
and began her singing career in the internment camps in Washington state and then Idaho.
As a way to express her heart, She began to sing with the Koichi Hayashi 13 piece band.
After the war she lived in Los Angeles and sang with the Tets Bessho big band and the Jim Araki quartet.
Her great love and respect for the music of the 40,s was imbedded in her memory.
She marrried in 1956 and her music was put on hold to raise a family. To Chickie music is the universal language.
After 60 years she has returned to the Studio to record her latest Cd "Chickie" featuring music standards.
Her musical talents are evident today as in the past. Creative phrasing and swing are her attributes.
She is living proof that age has no boundaries and that music is a thread of the tapestry of Life.
All Americans are the fabric of this great country we call the United States. "Chickie" is a Japenese American who has
Understood that music is the vehicle for communication .
Woman who began singing in Japanese internment camp releases CD
By Susan Parrish
As of Thursday, July 26, 2012
On Sunday vocalist Frances "Chickie" White, 85, is releasing her first CD at Courtyard Village, where she lives with her husband, Ed, 87. She recorded the CD as a legacy for her son.
|After World War II ended, Chickie moved to the Los
Angeles area and began performing with Tets Bessho's big band and later
with the Jim Araki quartet.
She was 25 years old in this photo.
|Before World War II, Chiyoko "Chickie" Ishihara spent her girlhood in Enumclaw. Here she is demonstrating the flowing skirt of the Shirley Temple dress her mother made for her and sewed "yards and yards of ribbon" on it.||Frances "Chickie" White, then 25, sings in Los Angeles
after the war.|
As a teenager during the war she sang at the Minidoka Internment Camp.
"It was quite a train ride," Chickie remembers. "The night before, they had fed us a chicken dinner — like the last supper. The next day, we arrived in the Idaho desert surrounded by nothing by sagebrush. The elderly people got down on their knees and prayed. It wasn't until much later that
I realized they thought this was the
end, that we were all going to be shot."
The majority of the internees would spend the remainder of the war living at Minidoka. The perimeter of the 960 acres was ringed by a high barbed wire fence guarded by soldiers with guns.
Each family was given a room in an uninsulated tar paper barracks with no interior walls or running water. A potbellied stove supplied heat. People slept on cots. Latrines and showers were a hike. Dust drifted indoors through unsealed windows.
The desert temperatures reached 120 degrees in the summer and plummeted below zero in the winter. When it rained, the clay soil became muck.
"I lost one of my favorite white rubber boots in that mud. It was stuck and I couldn't get it out, so I just walked out of it," White recalled.
At Minidoka, there was no big band because there were few young men. To prove their loyalty to America, they had volunteered for the Army and had gone off to war.
During the 31/2 years Chickie was interned at Minidoka, she sang every weekend in the mess hall and was accompanied by a Juilliard-trained pianist. Her favorites were "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "You'll Never Know."
Many nights at Minidoka the teens brought their records to the mess hall and danced.
"Music was a morale booster for us," White said. "The music really pulled us through."
She attended Hunt High School at Minidoka and graduated in 1944.
The war ended a year later. Minidoka and the other nine camps were closed in October, and White's family returned to Seattle.
Eventually she moved to the Los Angeles area and worked in the office of a big company. On the weekends, she sang with Tets Bessho's Band, an all-Japanese big band that performed for the Japanese-American community. The piano player was the same woman who had accompanied White at Minidoka.
When big-band music went out of style in the early 1950s and the band broke up, she began performing with a four-piece combo, the Jim Araki Quartet. She has fond memories of playing with the quartet.
"When you sing in a big band, you have to sing the way the band plays," White explained. "But when you sing in a small combo, the musicians follow the singer's lead."
While bowling on her company's summer league, she met, Ed White, who was white. They married in 1956 when she was 30.
At the time interracial marriage was not common or accepted. Although his family accepted Chickie, her family was not as pliable.
"My Japanese family had a difficult time accepting us," she said, noting that she was the first person in her family to marry outside of the Japanese race.
As was common in that era, after White married, she quit her job and became a homemaker. She also stopped singing. They had one child, a son.
After the Whites moved into Courtyard Village last summer, she began thinking about leaving her son a recording of her singing. She hired former Fort Vancouver High School music teacher Jim Iafrati to record her
CD. He will be playing in the four-piece Vancouver Jazz All-Stars backing up Chickie on Sunday.Today Minidoka War Relocation Center is the Minidoka National Historic Site, a National Park Service site. Not much remains of the internment camp. White had taken her husband to Minidoka 15 or 20 years ago when they were traveling nearby. Last month former internees took a pilgrimage to the site. White chose not to go.
Despite what she endured in the internment camp, Chickie is not bitter. She still swims half a mile three days a week.
And she smiles when she sings.
Chickie White sings "You'll Never Know"