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‘Schoolhouse Rock’ Creator Remembered in the Poconos

DELAWARE WATER GAP, Pa. -- A legendary jazz musician who lived in our area has passed away.

Bob Dorough was nationally famous as the man behind the "Schoolhouse Rock" segments that so many of us grew up with.

Dorough was a beloved member of the jazz community. Those in the Poconos who knew him said although he was larger than life, he always made time for his friends and music.

You may have seen his work on the educational cartoon show "Schoolhouse Rock" or seen him perform live in a concert.

Dorough passed away on Monday, but his style and impact on jazz will forever leave an impact on his listeners.

"His notes were not this pure, in tune, it had a character to it, and it was because he was having fun, so that's what music is about," said Matt Vahlishan.

Newswatch 16 spoke to the head of the jazz department at East Stroudsburg University. He showed us a jazz collection focused on Pocono area musicians.

Dorough moved to our area in the 1960s, performed at jazz festivals around the region, and received an honorary doctorate at ESU in the 1990s.

Vahlishan grew up watching "Schoolhouse Rock" in Monroe County but never realized that Dorough was the voice behind the cartoon characters until years later when he met the jazz legend in person.

"He was such a ball of positive energy. That's probably why his career was so long."

The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap is a place known as a haven for jazz and where Dorough performed many times.

"As a community fixture, as a legend in the jazz community, something to be learned by him was to let your guard down and give," said Lou Rogai.

"Performing and music were his life. It was on his mind constantly," said Denny Carrig at the Deer Head Inn.

Mitchell Kezin directed a 2013 film called "Jingle Bell Rocks," a movie about alternative underground Christmas music that featured a song written by Bob Dorough and jazz great Miles Davis.

"He was telling me about his collaboration with Miles was the greatest, biggest moment of my career so far," said Kezin.

Dorough was 94.

Those that knew Dorough said he made jazz for everyone and because of that, his legacy will live on forever.