August 15, 1931 - April 16, 2008
Joe Feeney & son Chris
Like many of the Welk Musical Family members, Joe Feeney's musical career began at an early age. He first started singing as a boy soprano in his hometown's church choir. While in elementary school in Grand Island, Nebraska, he appeared on stage in various productions. After graduating high school, he won a spot on Horace Heidt's Youth Opportunity Hour against 70 other musicians.
He attended the University of Nebraska while also pursuing his musical career but interrupted his college career to enter the Army. During his service years, he won a competiton conducted in several camps and won a solo spot on the "Arlene Francis Talent Patrol TV Show." He also soloed at numerous command performances and for the Special Services Branch. After being discharged from the service, Joe returned to the University of Nebraska and finished his education.
In 1956, Lawrence Welk was searching for fresh, new young talent for a special TV program. Joe's friend, Lyle DeMoss, manager of radio station NOW in Omaha, Nebraska, sent Lawrence a special recording of Joe's songs, having known and admired Joe when he had been the featured vocalist on the station's WOW CALLING program during his college years. Welk was enthusiastic and wired Joe to come to Los Angeles for a guest appearance. It was from the guest appearance that Joe was to become featured soloist on the weekly "Lawrence Welk Show" from 1957 to 1982 when the Welk show ended production.
Some of Joe's credits include singing for Pope John Paul at the Vatican in Rome, three Carnegie Hall command performances, numerous command performances for five American Presidents at various White House functions; Emcee and performer at Disneyland, Harrah's Club and Casino-Tahoe, and he performed in most major cities in the United States and abroad.
Feeney was the father of ten children from his marriage to Georgia LeGryva.