Poring over the Samuel French Collection at Amherst College, Massachusetts in August 2023, University of Michigan researcher Jacob Kerzner discovered a box labelled “La la Lucille. It piqued his interest.

La, La, Lucille was George Gershwin’s first complete musical score as a sole composer, written when he was just 20 and first performed in 1919.

Kerzner opened the box anticipating nothing more than what was already known to survive of La, La, Lucille. It had been long understood that most of its songs and original score had been lost, apart from a small number of published piano/vocal selections and four incomplete orchestrations preserved in the Library of Congress.

But to Kerzner’s surprise, the box contained not just the surviving songs but Gershwin’s complete musical orchestration of the show, with parts for flute, cello, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, cello, bass and piano – making it possible to hear La, La, Lucille as its composer intended.

On 19 February 2024, students from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance performed and recorded a selection of these recovered songs, including Somehow It Seldom Comes True and From Now On, in a concert honouring the centenary of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.