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Burton, Beverly Tucker

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Music ran thick in Mr. Burton's blood. His father, Beecher C. Burton, ran a small opera company in Chicago while Burton was growing up, and after graduating from high school he joined the company as a tenor soloist. At this time he met his future wife, Elizabeth, as she danced in his father's production and they were married in l945. They toured for about ten years as a singing duo that gained fame on the Borsch Belt resort circuit and on major cruise lines.

In 1950 when they decided to raise a family, Mr. Burton returned to school to become a teacher. He received a master's degree in music education from Columbia University Teachers College in the mid 1950s, and later earned a second degree in theater arts from Adelphi University. In 1957, he was hired as a musical director and conductor at Bethpage High School. During this time he became known for producing unusually sophisticated high school musicals and always credited his students for the success. He retired in 1977.

Among the students he inspired was song writer, George Morton, who wrote the Shangri-Las' , '60s chart topper, "Leader of the Pack." The gold record for that song hung on the Burton family wall, a gift from Morton.

After retirement from Bethpage High School, he toured schools in the tristate area, from 1978 - 1995, performing a one-man production based on the life of Benjamin Franklin. From 1986 - 1996, Mr. and Mrs. Burton taught workshops at national and international teaching conferences, speaking on how to link music and art with reading.

The Burtons were proud of their two daughters, Laurie and Bonnie, and grandson, John David Liatonio.


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