Volume CIX, No. 5May, 2009

Buddy Christian, drums

Howard J. Crawford, saxophone

George R. Davis Jr, guitar

Hyman Jaffe, saxophone

Donald Lituchy, clarinet

John E. Nicholas Jr, organ

James E Reid, trumpet

Sigmond “Siggy” Singer, drums

Harry Wells, drums

Buddy Christian

Buddy Christian, 91, a Local 802 member since 1935, died on March 29.

Mr. Christian was a prominent drummer with big bands who performed around the world and recorded with jazz great Dizzy Gillespie during a music career that spanned seven decades.

He gave his first performance at age eight. As a Nyack High School student, he played with Eddie Sauter’s dance band.

Mr. Christian rose to prominence during the 1930’s and 1940’s, working every weekday and on Saturdays, traveling the country and the globe and playing the drums with a light touch, his wife said.

His biography is listed in John Chilton’s “Who’s Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street,” and he played for many of the noted big band leaders, including Red Norvo, Teddy Powell, Joe Marsala, Ina Ray Hutton and “Chief” Russell Moore.

Mr. Christian’s extensive repertoire included show tunes and Latin, Polish, Greek and Jewish music, in addition to jazz. He made movies, and his Big Band-era records have been captured on CD.

He continued playing — at concerts, dances, cruises — until he was 86.

In addition to his wife Norma, Mr. Christian is survived by daughters Bonnie Christian and Donna Lavill, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Edited from the Rockland Journal News (New York).

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Sigmond “Siggy” Singer

Sigmond “Siggy” Singer, 71, a drummer and percussionist and an 802 member since 1962, died on April 19 of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos inhalation and poisoning.

After graduation from Boston University School of Fine Arts, Mr. Singer enjoyed a successful 40-year career. Before moving to New York, he toured with the Goldovsky Grand Opera, Boston Opera Group, Joffrey Ballet and Genevieve (of the Jack Paar TV show).

Once in New York, he played drums and percussion in some of Broadway’s most well-known shows including “Camelot,” “The Happy Time,” “Canterbury Tales,” “Sweet Charity,” “Coco,” “The Rothschilds,” “Rex,” “Evita” and “Me and My Girl.” He met his future wife, Abbie Todd, during the production of “Camelot,” where she performed as a singer.

In addition to his Broadway credits, Mr. Singer performed in bands and orchestras on Broadway and at the Westbury Music Fair (Long Island) supporting a wide range of talented acts, including Judy Garland, Eddie Fisher, Shirley MacLaine, Barry Manilow, Sammy Davis Jr., Josephine Baker, Engelbert Humperdinck, Shirley Bassey, the Spinners and the Jacksons. 

Mr. Singer also maintained a second career as a music copyist, making the leap from traditional pen and ink work to full digital production.

He was part of the original Members Party and served on its steering committee for many years. He served on the 802 Trial Board and the Executive Committee of the American Society of Music Copyists, and was a delegate to the Broadway Theatre Committee, serving several times as its secretary.

Mr. Singer is survived by his wife Abbie Todd and their son, Josh. 

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To submit an obituary, photo or reminiscence of a deceased member, e-mail Allegro editor Mikael Elsila at Survivors of deceased members should call Theresa Couture at (212) 245-4802, ext. 115 to ask about a possible refund of Local 802 membership dues. And spouses of deceased members should call the AFM pension fund at (800) 833-8065. Ask for the pension benefits department. Spouses may be entitled to a pension benefit.