The Gay Crooners, born of the stuff (socio-political and economic context of Canal Zone’) that challenged their ‘self-affirmation’. These were young men who were determined to ‘make something of themselves’ even when the Canal Zone Civil Service system denied them employment opportunities. They were of a generation and age when they were few ‘opportunities’ for employment on the Canal Zone where they lived with their ‘local rate’ employed parents/guardians. While we cannot know how much of a ‘threat’ these circumstances were, we do know that laws on the Canal Zone limited the time that dependents could continue to live with their parents. These group of young men, however, following David Campbell’s lead took a leap of faith, threw the dice and took a chance on their own natural talents, formed the ‘Gay Crooners’ (in the late fifties/early sixties), became widely popular, toured Central America, Mexico and Europe…and never looked back longingly at the Canal Zone.
Featured in this 1964 photo of the Gay Crooners (left to right):
- Rudolph ‘Lefty’ Charles;
- Ferdinand ‘Ferdie’ Thompson;
- Leroy Worrell
- David Campbell (founder and leader)
- Randolph ‘Ranny’ Sealy (lead singer)
What do you remember about the Gay Crooners? Share your memories of the era, this and other ‘Gyambo singing groups’ in ‘Open Space*)