By Susan Albert
OKM Music is sponsoring a USO-themed dance with all the trimmings, starting at 6:30 p.m. March 3 at Father Lynch Hall Event Center, Eighth Street and Keeler Avenue, in downtown Bartlesville. For details, click on OKM Goes USO under the Events menu.
Start now to research what you will wear, your hair and makeup, and how to swing dance! We had some great costumes last year, very authentic, and we will choose a male and female costume winner this year, too. Service members can wear their uniforms.
Pinterest has some great ideas for fashion, hair and makeup. https://www.pinterest.com/ashliea9988/1940s-uso-dance. Apparently, red lipstick is a necessity. For hair — waves and victory rolls. https://hairstylecamp.com/1940s-vintage-victory-rolls
I’ve read if you are stuck trying to come up with an outfit and don’t want to buy online, look for a simple shirtdress or a skirt and blouse, either will look very fortyish. Polka dots were in style, too. I notice in looking at photos that short sleeves, such as cap sleeves, were common for women. And shoes were rounded pumps with thick heels. No stilettos.
For men, the zoot suit became popular, which meant bright colors, baggy legs and long jackets, typically worn by youth. Adults relished the more casual look in sweater vests and double-pleated pants or Hawaiian shirts. Bomber jackets, trench coats and aviator glasses all surfaced during World War II fashion. Fabric colors for suits ranged from muted gray, black, navy, and dark brown to patterns such as herringbone, tweed, check and plaid.
This is the second year for the fundraiser, and if you attended last year and enjoyed the band, they will be back — Floyd Haynes and his Orchestra, featuring vocalist Jae Simmons. Need a few lessons in swing dancing? Just check out all the YouTube videos on the subject. Then be prepared to enter the amateur or professional dancing categories.
General admission is $30 per person. Admission for active duty and retired military service members is $25 per person. Five dollars of every ticket benefits USO Oklahoma. Also, we will have a donation box set up for people to bring contributions to the Blue Star Mothers’ care packages for local soldiers who are deployed overseas. They need foot powder, baby wipes, pull-top canned meats (no pork), individual powder drink mixes, coffee, tea, condiment packets, crackers, cereal bars, peanut butter, toothbrushes, tobacco items or a cash donation.
About the USO
Many people associate the USO with stars who take shows overseas to entertain the troops. Yes, they do that and a lot more. In wartime and peacetime, USOs across the country keep America’s military service members connected to family, home and country for the duration of their service, according to their website.
Begun in 1941 during World War II, centers sprang up everywhere, almost 3,000 of them in churches, barns, homes, museums and new or established buildings. They offered entertainment such as dances and movies, plus food and snacks. Today USO stations number about 160 worldwide.
According to uso.org, the USO tours could be dangerous. Thirty-seven USO performers died during World War II. The most famous was beloved big band leader and then-Army Major Glenn Miller, whose plane disappeared over the English Channel on the way to France.
In Oklahoma, the main USO center is in Fort Sill, but they operate a day room in the Military Entrance Processing Station in Oklahoma City and conduct outreach to other installations in the state such as Altus Air Force Base, according to OklahomaUSO.org.
Buy tickets to OKM Music Goes USO here.