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Title: Della Perrone Photographs, 1945-2015
Primary Creator: Perrone, Della
Extent: 3.5 cubic feet
Arrangement: Organized in three series: Series 1, Music Photography, which is organized in two subseries: Sub-series 1: Studio Photography and Promotional Work, and Sub-series 2, Stage and Candid Photography; Series 2, Family Photography; and Series 3, Audiovisual Materials.
Date Acquired: 12/22/2014. More info below under Accruals.
Subjects: Music, Popular Music--Illinois--Urbana-Champaign, Rock Music, Rock musicians United States
Consists of photographs, negatives, and film slides documenting Della Perrone's candid and studio photography with several Champaign-Urbana musicians in the 1980s, such as Adrian Belew, The Bears, The Rave, The Martyrs, Steps, Nick Rudd and Turning Curious, Nix 86, and The Elvis Brothers, as well as national acts including The Ramones, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and U2. Outside her studio, Perrone captured performances at local venues including Mabel's, University of Illinois Auditorium, Virginia Theatre, Chico's, Panama Red's and the Aragon Ballroom. A selection of these photographs were displayed during the exhibition "Live from the Crossroads: A Snapshot of Urbana-Champaign's Local Music Scene 1981-1986" that was held at the University of Illinois' Sousa Archives and Center for American Music between 2013 and 2014. The collection also includes audiovisual recordings from the 1980s, and family photographs and negatives from the 1920s-1940s.
Della Perrone's career as a photographer is closely tied to the Urbana-Champaign community where she grew up, and is tied closely to its vital local music scene. Perrone's maternal grandparents, mother, father, and two uncles were photography enthusiasts for decades and made frequent use of their cameras to capture family events and other activities within their community. When Della was in her early 20's she purchased her first camera in the summer of 1980, a CanonAT1, and continued the family's photographic legacy. Perrone first photographed the Elvis Brothers at Chico's on September 26, 1981, and the members of the band immediately felt that her photographs captured the essence of their music ensemble at the time. According to Perrone, her photographic approach was a match to the band. The following month, the Elvis Brothers asked her to take promotional photos of them, and on October 22, Della set up her first studio shoot in her home. Between 1981 and 1989, Perrone photographed live concerts of local bands and national acts performing in such Urbana-Champaign venues as Chico's, Mabel's, and the University Auditorium, as well as other performance spaces throughout the Midwest. The musicians and music groups she photographed included Adrian Belew and the Bears, John Kellogg and Combo Audio, Captain Rat, George Faber, The Rave/Invaders, Smokehouse, Mystery Dots, B-Lovers, the Vertebrats, Nix 86, U2, the Ramones, Jason & the Scorchers, Robin Trower, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Brian Setzer, and Wendy O. Williams. Throughout these years, Perrone's photographs artfully capture the on-stage, and sometimes back-stage, and off-stage exploits of these groups' performances and provide a vivid illustration of Urbana-Champaign's dynamic music scene.
Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Accruals: Additional items were acquired on January 23, 2015; March 13, 2015; October 5, 2016; and March 7, 2019.
Acquisition Source: Della Perrone
Acquisition Method: Gift