Skitch Henderson, Still the Leader of the Band

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The death of late-night TV legend Johnny Carson was the end of an era. But the man who set the mood for decades of Tonight show audiences is still going strong at 87, as NPR's Liane Hansen found out during a lively interview.

Skitch Henderson

Skitch Henderson Jeff Fasano/ hide caption

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Skitch Henderson led the NBC Orchestra, founded the New York Pops Orchestra, and served as bandleader for Steve Allen, Jack Paar and, of course, Johnny himself.

Henderson still keeps an office at Carnegie Hall, where he continues to oversee the New York Pops. He calls it Carnegie's musical army. And he has just received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian Institution for his contributions to American culture.



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