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Chauncey Downs & His Rinkey Dinks MMF Photo Collection, #105

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Chauncey Downs & His Rinkey Dinks

Chauncey Downs and His Rinkey Dinks enjoyed a short but highly successful career in Kansas City. The Rinkey Dinks came to Kansas City in December, 1927 as part of a black and white review at the Gayety Theater in downtown Kansas City. The band arrived in Kansas City at an fortuitous time. In early 1928, Bennie Moten, poised to launch an extended tour to the East, turned over his pending local engagements to Downs. Later that spring, George E. Lee left for a year-long engagement in Oklahoma. With Lee and Moten out of town, Downs' band picked up leading jobs at 18th and Vine and also at white resorts and ballrooms in the Kansas City area.

In April, 1928, the Downs band performed at the Annual Fashion Show at Convention Hall, a fund raiser for Wheatley Provident Hospital. It was the social event of the season. The next month, the band played the newly opened Pla-Mor Ballroom, becoming one of the first African American bands to play that white venue. Later that summer, Downs and the Rinkey Dinks played a summer engagement at Fairyland Park, a white-only amusement park at 79th and Prospect. Downs abruptly abandoned the Rinkey Dinks after closing out the season at Fairyland Park and moved to Superior, Wisconsin. Downs returned to Kansas City in the early 1940s.

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