Betty O'Hara

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In addition to singing and composing, multi-talented jazz musician Betty O'Hara was proficient at several different instruments, including trumpet, cornet, piccolo-trumpet, flügelhorn, trombone, valve…
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In addition to singing and composing, multi-talented jazz musician Betty O'Hara was proficient at several different instruments, including trumpet, cornet, piccolo-trumpet, flügelhorn, trombone, valve trombone, and an uncommon instrument called the double-bell euphonium. Born in Earl Park, ID, sometime during the 1920s, O'Hara began her interest in music at the age of nine, when she took up the trumpet. After performing in such ensembles as the Hartford Connecticut Symphony, O'Hara relocated to southern California in the early '60s with her bass trombone-playing husband, Barrett O'Hara. O'Hara began working as a studio musician, before becoming a charter member of the Maiden Voyage Big Band during the late '70s, and forming the Jazzbirds with trumpeter/flügelhornist Stacy Rowles during the early '80s. It was also during the '80s that O'Hara recorded soundtracks for such hit prime-time TV programs as Hill Street Blues and Magnum P.I. In addition to issuing a pair of solo albums on her own (1985's Horns Aplenty and 1999's Woman's Intuition), O'Hara could be heard playing multi-instruments on recordings by other artists, including John Allred's In the Beginning, Dick Cary's And His Tuesday Night Friends and Catching Up, Rick Fay's Endangered Species, and a few compilations. O'Hara suffered two strokes in 1998, and after moving to a convalescent hospital, died at the age of 74 on April 18, 2000, in Sherman Oaks, CA, due to complications of a stroke.