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Elizabeth A. Clendinning

An amusement park is a commercially-operated, outdoor venue that offers games, rides, and other types of entertainment, including music. The amusement park concept originated in the pleasure gardens of 17th-century Europe, which were originally large landscaped outdoor spaces primary devoted to games with a few refreshment stands. Dances and social and instrumental concerts became commonly integrated into these pleasure gardens in the 18th century. (See Pleasure garden.) Another important part of early amusement park soundscapes was the mechanical organ, which was used by street performers as early as the 18th century and was frequently built into carousel rides by the end of the 19th century. Over the course of the 19th century, the popularity of amusement parks skyrocketed, especially in the United States, where large tracts of land were available for development. Bandstands and pavilions devoted explicitly to musical performances were common in the 19th century, in part influenced by the popular World’s Fairs, which were industrial and cultural expositions that featured specific stages devoted to performers from around the world. A change came with the ...

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Casinos  

Janis L. McKay

[hotel casinos]

The word casino originally referred to small garden houses that were used for music and table games in Europe; over time, it came to mean any building in which gambling took place. Historically, hotel casino owners have used musical entertainment to draw tourists to their locations, in the hope that before and after the performance guests will spend time gambling. Casinos vary greatly in size and design, from small ones located on remote Native American reservations to large mega-resorts found in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and on reservations located near major cities.

The largest number of casinos in the United States is in Las Vegas, often called the “entertainment capital of the world,” and their music is generally typical of what larger casinos in the United States offer. The first casino opened in 1906; the “Arizona Club” was one of the first to offer music, employing three pianists. The Arizona Club was located on notorious “Block 16,” an area originally designated for drinking, prostitution, and gambling. When Nevada banned gambling in ...

Article

Linda Whitesitt

Voluntary associations of professional and amateur musicians. Music clubs have had a profound impact on the modern institutions and practices of American musical life that arose in the decades spanning the turn of the 20th century. Emerging after the Civil War and as part of the long tradition of 19th-century women’s organizations, most of these music clubs were founded by women to offer women musicians the opportunity to study music and perform for each other. By 1893, when the first gathering of women’s music clubs convened at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, many clubs had broadened their mission to include what they described as the advancement of public taste and the promotion of high-quality music. A rapidly expanding body of members (men would eventually join the ranks of club members) in individual music clubs, as well as the National Federation of Music Clubs (chartered in 1898), would accomplish these goals by sponsoring concert series of European and American artists, chamber ensembles, orchestras, and opera companies in their communities....

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Article

Cathy Ragland

Theater and concert hall. The historic venue, located in the heart of San Antonio, Texas, opened to the public on 9 March 1949. It was originally built and owned by Sam Lucchese, who operated several other movie houses in the city. At the time, the 2500-seat theater was the nation’s largest to feature Spanish-language films and live entertainment. Lucchese recognized the earning potential of a business focusing on the city’s large Mexican American population. In its heyday, the Alameda featured top Mexican films often accompanied by live concerts by singing stars Pedro Infante, Lucha Reyes, and Jorge Negrete, popular comedians Cantinflas, Tin Tan, Resortes, and Piporro, such local artists as singer Rosita Fernández and Santiago Jiménez y su Conjunto, and many others. By the late 1960s, the Alameda’s popularity declined as the Mexican American population became more acculturated. It was forgotten until 1997, when the Smithsonian Institution declared the black light murals that adorned its walls a national treasure, possibly the largest existing example of a brief trend in deco theater design of the era. In ...