National Kazoo Day occurs annually (although in some regions, more often) on or about January 28 – or whenever convenient for the kazooist.
The Kazoo doesn’t have any keys or tuning devices.
You create the music by humming into the instrument.
Technically, this makes it a membranophone or mirliton. And the strangest looking wax drum ever.
(Other than the kazoo, the membranophone group is entirely made up of drums.)
There are only four parts to any Kazoo: the top, the bottom, resonator and caplet (which holds the membrane).
The first Kazoo
The ancestor of the Kazoo was made from hollowed out bones, with spider egg sacs for the vibrating membrane!
For centuries, they created other-worldly special effects in religious ceremonies in Africa.
Players can produce different sounds by singing specific syllables such as doo, who, rrrrr or brrrr into it.
The modern Kazoo
A popular belief is that Alabama Vest, an African-American in Macon, Georgia, invented the modern kazoo around 1840.
Unfortunately, no documentation exists to support that claim.
In any case, as the “Down South Submarine”, it hummed into the world in 1852 during the Georgia State Fair.
The first Kazoos were sold from a Sears catalog in 1893 for 60 cents each.
There were even specialty liquor Kazoos made in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition.
Visit the Museum and Factory in Beaufort, SC for kazoos shaped like famous cartoon characters, electric kazoos, and 100-year-old Kazoos.
Izzy Humair became Twitter famous in 2017 for covering popular songs on Kazoo.
She blew“Mr. Sandman” through 13 kazoos and “Fireflies” by Owl City through another 20!
If you don’t play, but still want to celebrate National Kazoo Day, check out Mystery Kazoo Man on Fiverr.
For a small fee, he will write your message on his chest whilst playing Kazoo.
National Kazoo Day
In 1983, while browsing through Readers Digest, Chaplain Willard Rahn saw a note on National Tuba Day.
He asked the obvious question – If tubas, why not kazoos?
Chaplain Rahn and the Joyful Noise Kazoo Band at the Leader Nursing Home in Chambersburg, PA decided to DO something and establish National Kazoo Day.
Unfortunately, the oldest kazoo band in the world (average age 88.6666) initially had some difficulty making their voices heard, and they enlisted Barbara Stewart‘s assistance to reach important ears.
She wisely referred them to Associated Press, which had no hearing problem whatsoever — and the rest is kazoo history.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.