Then in 1941 he auditioned for the University of Pennsylvania’s music school.
When he was in college in the early 1940s, the band business was starting to quiet down.
While he was at Penn during World War II, the draft plucked many men from local bands.
Similarly here weren’t enough college-age men.
The head of the Penn band at the time was Adolph Vogel, who had come to Philadelphia with the rights to all the famous French composers like Ravel and Debussy.
One day Vogel said, “Elliot, if you want to put a band together, go right ahead.”
When he graduated from Penn in 1944, he took over WCAU’s band.
Elliot took on the name Elliot Lawrence to distinguish himself from his family name when he became the music director of WCAU’S House Band in 1945.
Before he took over the band, there was a young guy for arrangement.
His name was Gerry Mulligan.
In 1945, he formed his first band while still at WCAU and they played gigs all around the Philadelphia area.
Gerry always hung around and would break a leg or something.