Jazzman Billy Strayhorn was born in Ohio, his signature composition is indelibly associated with New York City and he's best-known as one of Washington, D.C., native Duke Ellington's key collaborators -- Strayhorn's "Take the A-Train" is what starts playing when you dial up Ellington's Web site. But Strayhorn, who died in 1967, had plenty of ties to North Carolina. He often visited his grandparents in Hillsborough, where he gave his first public performances as a first-grader, and North Carolina made enough of an impression on him for Strayhorn biographer David Hajdu to call the Tar Heel state his "spiritual home."
All of which adds up to a state historical marker for Strayhorn, the second music-related one this year after "Orange Blossom Special" composer Ervin T. Rouse (which went up in June). There will be a dedication ceremony for Strayhorn's marker at 10 a.m. Saturday, in front of the Churton Street fire station in Hillsborough.