Part of Minnesota’s celebration of its Centennial was a musical performance by Judy Garland. Born Frances Ethel Gumm, Judy was born on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Her parents were vaudevillians who had settled in Grand Rapids to run a movie theater that featured vaudeville acts.
“Baby” (as she was called by her parents and sisters) shared her family’s flair for song and dance. Her first appearance came at the age of three, when she joined her elder sisters Mary Jane “Suzy/Suzanne” Gumm and Dorothy Virginia “Jimmie” Gumm on the stage of her father’s movie theater during a Christmas show and sang a chorus of “Jingle Bells.” The Gumm Sisters performed there for the next few years, accompanied by their mother on piano.
The family moved to California in 1926; Judy lived in Grand Rapids the first four years of her life.
From Ben Welter’s blog in the Strib:
Minnesota’s sweetheart filled stadium with song
Accompanied by 32 “hand picked” members of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Judy Garland fought through a case of laryngitis on May 11, 1958, to help her home state celebrate its centennial. More than 20,000 gathered at the U’s old Memorial Stadium on that steamy Sunday to hear Garland belt out such hits as “The Trolley Song” and “For Me and My Gal.” Midway through one song, she stopped and said: “Can I start again? I missed the lyric. Isn’t this terrible? I was trying to be so good.” Garland… finished the show with – what else? – “Over the Rainbow.”