John Scott Trotter, Arranger for Bing Crosby and Charlie Brown

Trotter standing at a conducting podium holding a baton while looking down at music with an unidentified man. Image from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.On June 14, 1908, arranger, composer and orchestra leader John Scott Trotter was born in Charlotte.

A piano student from a young age, Trotter began playing piano professionally with Hal Kemp’s band after meeting Kemp as a student at UNC. At the end of his first year Trotter left college to continue with the band, serving as their arranger as well as the pianist.

In 1936, Trotter left Kemp’s band and began orchestrating for Bing Crosby, an association that would last for almost 20 years.

In the 1950s, Trotter, known for his easy-going style and large physical size, began working in television, first as music director for The George Gobel Show and later on several specials for Crosby.

Trotter later directed the music for the Charlie Brown specials, receiving nominations for both an Oscar and a Grammy for A Boy Named Charlie Brown. He is credited with the idea of using the trombone for the teacher’s voice that became a hallmark of the animated movies.

Trotter died in 1975 in Los Angeles and is buried in Sharon Memorial Park in Charlotte.

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