I first met Ethel Smith in the mid 1950s. She was performing a concert at the Harry Holmes Hammond Organ Studios in Hempstead, New York. Before the First Lady of Hammond was introduced I had a 20 minute performance on the Hammond Chord Organ. (Ethel only appeared on the console Hammond.) We both arrived early and after the round check we were invited to Harry Holmes office. What I remember from that time was that every movement, every word and even her exquisite grown said you are in the presence of a star. Ethel was gracious and remarked that being a performing musician takes dedication and practice.
When it came to showtime Ethel listened to my entire segment and she didn’t have to do that. When it came time for Ethel’s introduction she was brought on with “Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Tico Tico Ethel Smith!” The audience went wild. After she said her Thank You’s she brought me out for another bow. I was thrilled beyond belief.
Once she began to play the room was filled with the magic personality of her music. Ethel never missed a note, absolutely letter perfect. Ethel also sang and embellished her performance with humor. She was also a linguist . Her flawless French, Spanish and Italian demonstrated she was a very intelligent lady.
I never played a duet with Ethel but we shared the stage many times usually at organ conventions. I was the first act and Ethel would close the show. It would be professional suicide to follow Ethel. She was a living legend!
We had dinner only a few times together and they were such fun. Ethel loved talking about her days at MGM and Disney.
God Bless Ethel Smith