HISTORY

The Poptimists was the musical brainchild of a young college student, Lester Loesser.

Lester Loesser was born on August 17, 1939 in Canon City, Colorado. The youngest of eight children, Lester was the lesser of eight Loessers. He was a quiet, happy child until the day his father brought home a used accordion. From the moment Lester pumped his first B-flat in the privacy of his attic bedroom, he was hooked on music. Practicing day and night, Lester became an accomplished accordionist by age 13, alienating virtually everyone in his family and within earshot.

His life took yet another dramatic turn when, shortly following the mysterious theft of his prized accordion, Lester received a new acoustic guitar one Christmas. He took to it immediately, deftly imitating many folk and pop stars of the late 1950's. Musicians such as Pete Seeger, Glenn Yarborough and even to some extent, Elvis Presley all contributed to what would eventually become regionally known as the unique "Poptimist" sound.

After playing guitar and accordion in the marching band for two years at the Southern University of Colorado (SUC), Lester matriculated to another university in the mid-west, where his future fate would soon be revealed to him.



The Poptimists emerged out of a group of college friends in 1961. Lester and a number of his fellow Poly Sci major/Choral Music minor students from St. Bricabrac College in Ottumwa, Iowa decided upon graduation to continue singing together and to share their love of music, political theory, and America with others of their generation.

But unlike other folk and pop groups of the time, The Poptimists encouraged their members to write and compose original songs rather than sing contemporary songs made famous by others. Lester Loesser (or "Les Squared" as he would come to fondly be known) felt this would give the group a unique reputation as well as save costs by avoiding paying royalties to other composers. (See
Albums)

As the 1960's progressed. Lester knew that at some point he would have to begin replacing the original members of The Poptimists in order to appear more "hip" and "relevant" to his high school and college audiences.



Lester had a "vision" for his group that he hoped would carry its popularity and timeliness well past the turbulent times of the late 1960's for decades to come. There came a point where even Lester finally stepped down as a performer and remained as the Musical and Artistic Director and the "heart" of The Poptimists until his untimely death in 1969 in a tragic hootenanny accident.

The next day there was some debate as to if The Poptimists could continue without Lester's presence, spirit and leadership. It was put to a quick hand vote and it was decided that yes, the group could go on without him.

And so, this current 1970 Pop Across America Tour of The Poptimists is fondly dedicated to our founder, and my late husband, Lester Loesser. We hope to continue his dream for generations to come, bringing our message of optimism and patriotism to the children of the Space Age -- and beyond.

The Poptimists truly aspire to achieving and maintaining the Loesser greatness.

--Justine Dinkman-Loesser
Poptimist (1961-1967)

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