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Swinging sounds coming to Princess

By Staff
The Princess Theatre for the Performing Arts will present the annual "Big Band Bash" Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. This year's event features Morgan County's own The Sophisticated Swingers, along with the Steve Motz Quartet from Huntsville, TDB Band and Frank Sinatra impersonator Dave McConnell.
The event has become a tradition at the Princess, bringing several big bands together to perform and showcase talented Alabama musical acts. The event is made possible by the Decatur Bankers Association, as well as grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Princess Theatre.
Each band will perform full sets of classic big band music from the 1930s and '40s. Sinatra impersonator McConnell will serenade the audience when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. and perform until 7:30 p.m. when the Sophisticated Swingers will kick off the program.
Organized by a group of six men in 1984, the ensemble is made up of local musicians who enjoy playing big band music and providing the community with an opportunity to listen and dance to the music of the '30s and '40s. The band is a regular at the Priceville Palace and the Summer Concerts by the River.
Since appearing on the music scene a little more than a year ago, McConnell has quickly become known as the "Sinatra guy" for his regular Tuesday night performances at the Jazz Factory in Huntsville.
In March, he performed at the Von Braun Civic Center as part of the Legends of Music Series. He's also performed as part of Decatur's Concerns by the River series, at Yesterday's in Athens and most recently as featured vocalist with the Charlie Lyle Band at Huntsville's Labor Day Concert in the Park.
The Steve Motz Quartet, a modern jazz quartet from Huntsville will perform such standards as "The Days of Wine and Roses," "Stella by Starlight," "Body and Soul," and Latin "Blue Bossa." The quarter features saxophonist Steve Motz, saxophone professor at UAH, and Tom Branch on drums. Branch is set drums professor at UAH. The quartet also features Don Fisher on bass and Keith Taylor on piano. Taylor plays regularly at the Heritage Club in Huntsville. Most of the musicians have played in the north Alabama area for the past 10 years.
The TDB Band, led by Russ Woodard and Ray Reska, is a group of musicians from the Huntville-Madison area that enjoy performing big band and swing music. The players developed their appetites for the genre during high school, college and community band and orchestra experiences.
Band members came together earlier this year to perform as The Big Band is Asbury Dinner Theatre's production of "Swing, Swing, Swing!"
Fueled by their strong mutual interests in big band and swing music, the group has decided to continue playing on a regular basis. This will be the band's first appearance at the Princess.
Reserved tickets are available at the box office Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $20 main floor, $18 balcony, $15 upper balcony, and $10 for students and teachers. Senior citizen and group rates are also available.
For more information, call 340-1778.

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