For decades, Doreen Turck Anderson played the piano for Wichitans, at their weddings, clubs, parties, funerals and even as they ate pizza.
Anderson was the piano player at Shakey's Pizza Parlor No. 1. She died in 2004 at the age of 86.
She was born Doreen Beryl Horsfield on Christmas Eve, 1917, in New Town, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.
Family history had it that the Horsfields enjoyed vaudeville shows. It was following one such show that four-year-old Doreen Horsfield arose at midnight and plucked out the notes on the family's parlor piano to a tune she had heard that night at the theater.
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Thus began her interest in music, particularly piano and organ. She was trained as a classical pianist and graduated from the Sydney Conservatory and London Music Institute.
During the 1930s, Mrs. Anderson played in the theaters in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. She also played with the Five Kelleys, an all-girl band, touring Tasmania, New Guinea and New Zealand.
During World War II, she performed for the troops in Allied and USO shows, appearing with stars such as Gracie Fields, Bob Hope and John Wayne.
She married a fellow musician, Navy Chief John D. Turck. They moved to Wichita in the late 1940s, after she had a brief recording stint with Capitol Records in Hollywood.
In 1950, she was widowed with two children and pregnant with a third. She chose to stay in Wichita to raise her family.
That's when she began playing for Wichitans, performing at funerals, private parties for Olive Ann Beech, at the Hammond Organ Club and McConnell Air Force Base NCO Club.
In the meantime, she married Wayne Anderson in 1953. Together, they had three more children, and she continued playing the piano — at Duffey's Piano Bar, Margo Ward's dance studio and recitals.
From 1962 to 1975, she played at Shakey's Pizza Parlor.
Question: What were Doreen Turck Anderson’s signature songs?
Answer to Saturday’s Question: Sarah and Charles Robinson donated much of their land in Lawrence to Kansas University. He died in 1894; she died on Nov. 15, 1911.
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