Jazz enthusiasts and drag fans alike took to the streets yesterday to join in the Hasty Pudding Club's 1982 Woman of the Year parade honoring singer Ella Fitzgerald.
"What a day!" the 63-year-old Fitzgerald said as she arrived at Quincy Square amid eager fans, balloons and chants of "Ella." The traditional though unconventional celebration began at 2 p.m. with a procession led by Fitzgerald and two gowned male escorts.
The lively parade included the Harvard Band, a jazz band in a pickup truck and members of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals in women's dress--one on a unicycle.
As the group headed down Mass. Ave persistent fans and photographers tagged Fitzgerald's open car offering flowers and jostling for pictures. "I love you too" Fitzgerald yelled to well-wishers in the crowd Climaxing the half-hour trip through Harvard Square the guest of honor and her escorts met a crowd of 200 outside the Hasty Pudding Club on Holyoke Street.
At the club Fitzgerald was awarded the traditional golden "pudding pot" as well as a green and yellow construction paper basket in honor of her first million-seller. "A Tisket, A-Tasket"
Calling Fitzgerald "timeless," theatricals vice president James D. Goldstein '82 said this year's winner of the club's 31st Woman of the Year award is in fact "a woman of every year."
"What a great feeling!" the pioneer "Scat" or nonsense syllable singer, said after accepting the award Fitzgerald who spent part of her career with the Duke Ellington band said that she had once played at a Harvard prom adding "Who would have ever thought I'd be back to receive an award--it's been a long time this has made up for all the time"
Responding to loud chants of "Sing!" filling the crowded theater. Fitzgerald sang a verse of "I've Got a Crush on You," pointing to the audience and adding, "all of you"
During her 40-year career, Fitzgerald has recorded more than 150 albums and done many world tours. On tour this year, she has been nominated for her 11th Grammy award.
Fitzgerald said she was surprised to have been chosen for the award in part because she never thought a jazz singer would have the current popularity.
The Theatricals, which in recent years has chosen younger performances sought to honor all-time greats this year president Michael J Anderson '82 said yesterday adding "Fitzgerald has stood the test of time."
The 1982 Man of the Year is veteran actor James Cagney. That award will be presented next week at the February 24 premiere of the Theatrical's 13th annual production.
Fitzgerald saw scenes of this year's show. "Sealed With a Quiche," after the awards presentation yesterday afternoon. Fitzgerald said she enjoyed the preview of what Anderson called "a tradition of Harvard men in tutus and tap shoes"
Last year the Theatricals presented the award to actress Mary Tyler Moore Past winners include Katherine Hepburn Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Taylor.