MOUNT UNION -The Big Band Sound Inc., of Mount Union, has been selected as one of the featured groups to perform at the 2014 Les Brown Big Band Weekend in Tower City on April 12.
This is the ninth annual weekend festival held in honor of Les Brown, the director of the Band of Renown, by his hometown. The location for this year's event is the Williams Valley High School, 10300 Route 209, Tower City.
Les Brown (1912 2001) will be remembered for performing nearly seven decades with his big band, Les Brown and His Band of Renown. He and his band traveled with Bob Hope for 50 years and played big band music throughout the United States and abroad. The Band of Renown and Les, himself, performed with many other famous musicians of the time. He was known for the popular "Sentimental Journey" recorded with Doris Day in the war era years, along with many more favorites of that time.
The Big Band Sound Inc., of Mount Union, has been selected as one of the featured groups to perform at the 2014 Les Brown Big Band Weekend in Tower City on April 12. Membrs include, from left, Katie Patterson, Sue Briggs, Director Mike Trego, Kevin Donahue, Dixie Enyeart, Bob Madden, Terri Limes, Stephanie Diehl, Charlie Port, Tracy Loucks, Phil Loewen, Doug Stephens, Kevin Milliken, Rick Kane, Jordan Canner, Gretchen Crouse, and not pictured, Bill Croissant.
The Weekend Festival will provide a Friday evening dance and a full day Saturday of big band music beginning noon and continuing until 6:30 p.m. Festival goers will have an opportunity to hear, meet and receive autographs from Les Brown Jr., the leader of the now popular Band of Renown performing in Branson, Mo. He is also host of The Music of Your Life radio network, and has appeared on television in Gunsmoke, General Hospital and Gilligan's Island.
Featured guest will be Stumpy Brown, kid brother of Les Brown Sr., who was a former bass trombonist, vocalist and manager of the Band of Renown.
Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, grandson of Les Sr., and co-creator of Disney's Phineas & Ferb, will also be on hand to address the audiences.
Other featured performers on Saturday will be Letters From Home, an Andrews Sisters tribute trio, the Elizabethown College Jazz Band, The Jonestown Male Chorus, and several local big band and jazz youth groups from elementary through high school. The Town of Renown Orchestra, (Williams Valley Alumni Jazz Band) will also perform.
The website for the Les Brown Big Band Weekend is www.townofrenown.org. For more information about the events, directions,and tickets, call 228-8513.
The Big Band Sound is scheduled to perform two sets, from 4:15 to 5 p.m. and and from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.
Business Manager, Dixie Enyeart, said, "This invitation is an accomplishment for our band and quite an honor. We sent in an audition tape and were pleasantly surprised to be selected to perform.
"The Big Band Sound Inc., has grown musically and changed dramatically over the past number of years. Of course, we strive to keep alive the wonderful music of the big band era, but realizing that there are also favorites from the decades of the '50s through the present, we set about to incorporate more of those charts into our library, particularly more Latin music and jazz. Also we are extremely fortunate to have tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Phil Loewen writing some great jazz charts for us. Our present director, Mike Trego, has been working diligently to bring the band together into a tight ensemble, and our sound has improved significantly."
The band now carries 17 members full-time and has onboard a number of qualified substitutes. Every player in the band is a professional performer on his or her respective instrument and resides locally, mostly from Huntingdon and Mifflin counties. Trego, the director, is from Juniata County, and the drummer, Doug Stephens, resides in Blair County, where he has a professional instrument repair and rental business. Many of the band's members are active or retired music educators.
Big Band Sound has performed, both locally and far beyond the home area, for ballroom dancing events, wedding receptions, community events, and jazz concerts.
On Feb. 8, the band was called back for the fourth year in a row to perform for the Diamonds and Ice Gala, a black tie event held at the Bedford Springs Resort. The band will return to the resort for a wedding reception in April.
The Big Band Sound will provide music again this year for the Annual Seniors' Prom on May 10 at the Mount Union Area High School Gym. More information will be forthcoming on that event.
For more information, contact Enyeart at (814) 658-3042 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Gretchen Crouse at (814) 542-3260 or Gpbcrouse@gmail.com, or in the Mifflin and Juniata counties, Mike Trego at 527-2242 or email@example.com.
Find pictures and more information about the Big Band Sound Inc., on Facebook at www.facebook/thebigbandsoundinc.com.