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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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LARRY FOSTER ORCHESTRA. In 1940 Maury Germain bought out the "Bus" Canfield Dance Orchestra and was immediately offered a New Year's Eve job at the Freeport (Illinois) Country Club. Meeting with the manager of the club, Germain thought his day job of funeral director might not enhance his chances so he answered "Lawrence Foster" when asked for the name of his group.

Germain set his orchestra apart from others of the time. Other orchestras often used stock arrangements which were simplified from the original music. Germain had his pianist write custom arrangements. Germain also developed a friendship with singer/bandleader Eddie Howard who gave Germain 2,500 of his orchestrations while his own arrangers wrote new ones for the Howard band.

The Larry Foster Orchestra kept up a busy schedule in the tri-state region. They often performed four or five times a week and traveled in their own bus. As the music trends changed, big band music became less popular in the 1960s. In 1965 the Larry Foster Orchestra played for the last dance at the Armar Ballroom in Cedar Rapids. In 1969 the orchestra provided music at the Yacht Harbor in conjunction with the return of power boat racing to Dubuque. (1)


1. "Yacht Basin Girds for 10,000-15,000 at Boat Regatta," The Telegraph Herald, June 1, 1969, p. 12

Source: "175 Years" Vol. II Telegraph Herald, p. 115