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91-Year-Old ‘Moonmaid’ Reflects on Her Big Break

If you’ve got a dream, keep at it.

That’s the advice 91-year-old Tinker Ratenberg wants to pass on to the next generation.

Once a Denton college student who loved singing with friends, Tinker dreamed of touring nationally with a big band.

“Three of us were music majors, and all of Denton seemed to like to hear us,” Ratenberg said. “They’d invite us to watermelon festivals and church festivals and civic clubs. Anybody who would stand still and listen, we would sing for them.

A chance encounter with a publicity agent in Fort Worth propelled her to a national stage.

Almost overnight, Tinker and her friends found themselves touring as the “Moonmaids” with the popular Vaughn Monroe Orchestra during the 1940s and 1950s.

The group performed all over the country for huge sellout crowds.

Now reflecting on her time in the spotlight, she encourages anyone with a dream to keep at it, because you never know when your big break may come.

“If you like to sing, sing,” said Ratenberg. “Music keeps you young and I’m only 91 years young.”

Ratenberg is still performing for her friends at the Mustang Creek Estates of Keller

A University of North Texas Music Library podcast chronicles the “Moonmaids” rise to fame. Listen here.

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