Swing Break, Mission Cultural Center, April 11 & 12, 2014.
This show was a departure for us in a way as it was all big band swing music. We collaborated with City Swing, an 18-piece big band conducted by Bradley Connlain. In his notes, Billy Sauerland said "We hope this evening of big band swing music leaves your toes tapping and your heart singing. It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with City Swing, and we are grateful to Bradley Connlain and all the instrumentalists for this amazing opportunity." In preparation for this show, the chorus traveled to Oakland to join in City Swing's rehearsal to begin our work with them. And all of the hard work of both groups paid off to enjoyment of our enthusiastic audiences.
The chorus was at 30 strong singers for this show and it began with City Swing playing dance music for our audience and many of them did get out of their seats and danced. Then City Swing played "Basie - Straight Ahead" and this led into John Gullotto soloing and the chorus behind him with "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and this was followed by "Moonglow" which was sung by Dale Danley, Yolanda, Pax, Joan Goldman, John, Tom McElroy, Martha Merchant, Ellen Miller, David Pistrang (whatever happened to him), Janice Placido, Linda Rodriguey and Noam Szoke. Next up Tom Reardon, one of our Board of Directors, sang "Come Fly With Me." This was followed by "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" with Billy, Linda, Fernando Ruelos and John out front. The first half ended with "Orange Colored Sky" with David out front and the chorus backup. And then came intermission.
The second half began with the chorus singing "Tenderly" very tenderly. Then Fernando and Jason LeBrun led us in "That Old Black Magic" and we were in their spell. And then there was more music for dancing. Next up was Wendy Tobias, Scott Turco and Dale "Pep, Vim and Verve" and they were followed by Tom Reardon again singing "Luck Be a Lady." Next we sang "Moonlight Serenade" with Billy, Wendy, Fernando and John out front. This was followed by Scott soloing on "At Last" and the chorus ended with "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" and then there was more music for dancing as our audience and we danced the night away. All of us, City Swing and our audiences loved this show and the music that brought back memories for them.
Next week I will be writing about Pride 2014.
Cheers to all, Michael Lucero