August 28, 2014 at 10:42 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - What do American Bandstand, the Oscar-winning film "Going My Way," and former New Jersey Governor Brendan T. Byrne have in common? The answer is a 100th Anniversary concert celebrating the life and music of Father Joseph P. Connor, beloved parochial vicar and American music composer at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Orange on September 14.
The Les Elgart Orchestra, a 40s Big Band best-known for "Bandstand Boogie," the American Bandstand theme song, will perform many of Father Connor's compositions. Connor was the inspiration for Father O'Malley in "Going My Way," the classic film that earned Bing Crosby a best actor nod in 1944. The event chair is Gov. Brendan T. Byrne, who was a youth at Our Lady of Lourdes while Father Connor served there.
Father O'Connor composed popular and religious music during the twenties, thirties and forties. His best-known contemporary work is When I take my Sugar to Tea, which is regularly performed by the Les Elgart Orchestra. Other songs include By a Waterfall, You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me, The Golden Dawn, Lilies of Lorraine, The Far Green Hills of Home, Little Black Dog, I Shall Return, Love Sends a Little Gift of Roses, Miracle of the Bells and Honeymoon Lane. Father O'Connor wrote several movie scores including Footlights on Parade and 42nd Street.