Artists, rejoice! Because famed drummer Viola Smith may have figured out the key to living a long and healthy life: vigorous drumming and moderate wine drinking. This centenarian’s astonishingly lengthy career has spanned the whole length and breadth of modern music, from swing to jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and beyond, and she is still actively drumming in a Costa Mesa band called Forever Young Band: America’s Oldest Act of Professional Entertainers.
Viola Schmitz was born on November 29, 1912, in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin, to a family of 10. Viola and her six sisters formed the Smith Sisters Orchestra in the 1920s after their father encouraged them to study piano.
When the sisters performed on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, a 1930s radio equivalent of America’s Got Talent, she became well-known. Viola and her saxophonist sister Mildred were able to join The Coquettes, an all-girl ensemble that performed until Mildred married in 1942. The Coquettes, an all-girl swing band that scored several well-known swing tunes during the early days of the war, are arguably what this great artist is most remembered for.
In an interview with Dan Barret in advance this year, Viola meditated on her expert path, lifestyles narrative, and loved recollections of a number of the alternative famed musicians she performed with. She additionally cited her piece “Give Girl Musicians A Break! in Down Beat magazine, which she penned during the duration of World War II. She has usually been an excellent proposal for ladies in music, and she or he fought tough for bands that misplaced male musicians to the European conflict to present lady performers a possibility to fill in. The piece brought about a countrywide verbal exchange about lady artists and the bias that many men held on the time.
Viola Smith and her 17 drums in 1941
In 1940, she appeared on the cover of Billboard magazine.
Regarding her remarkable longevity, Viola explained that having only smoked briefly, she believes full-body exercise involving drumming, as well as the occasional drink, helped keep her fit and healthy.
“I am a drinker, but certainly always in moderation,” she explains in the interview. He had a tavern in his nightclub in Wisconsin too. He even took the children to the family wedding. So, we dined with wine. I still drink wine now.
Viola Smith on the drums at age 100
“I was on a plane next to a man who sold liquor. According to him, people who drink wine every day lengthen their lives by three years. Not excessively! That made me very delighted to hear!
“Red wine has more health benefits than white wine. However, white wine is also beneficial to your health. As a result, I always have a glass of wine. But only one glass of wine. There used to be two of them. But now there is only one.
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Viola, dubbed “America’s Fastest Girl Drummer,” continues to break through barriers, inspire others, and do what she loves most: drumming and assisting those who share her lifetime passion. Let’s toast a (little) glass of red to her ongoing health and energy; may she live long and prosper!
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