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Choir recalls bouncing big bands era.

Byline: Fred Crafts The Register-Guard

Eugene Concert Choir artistic director and conductor Diane Retallack wants to be clear about the title of her next concert, ``The Big Bands Era.''

``I specially called it `The Big Bands Era' and not `Big Bands Music' because I wanted to touch on a lot of music written in a specific time (roughly 1920 to 1950),'' she says. ``This is not obscure music. This is music everybody knows.''

Sure is. Right off the top she'll be doing the misty post-war hit "Sentimental Journey." Also on her list are such nostalgic favorites as "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," "Blue Moon," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "St. Louis Blues," "Stardust," "Tuxedo Junction," "All of Me," "Jersey Bounce," "Opus One," "Miss Otis Regrets" and "Embraceable You."

All these songs came out at a time when big bands were America's darlings. To salute them, she'll be doing Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" and "In the Mood," Charlie Barnett's "Cherokee," Count Basie's "One O'clock Jump" and "April in Paris," Duke Ellington's ``Take the `A' Train'' and Benny Goodman's ``Sing, Sing, Sing,'' among others.

``It was hard to pick music for this concert because there is so much,'' Retallack says.

To represent the golden days of Broadway, Retallack has chosen full medleys from "Porgy and Bess" and "South Pacific."

"This is just plain great music," Retallack says. "Great classics that are still performed and still beloved."

Singing the songs will be the 100-voice Eugene Concert Choir, with soloists such as Stacey Glemboski, Loren Crow, Jennifer Hill, Bernie Robe, Sara Severson, Jerry Drucks and Frieda Harden.

Backing them will be a 10-piece swing band featuring some of Eugene's finest players: Vickie Brabham, pianist; Craig Bender, baritone sax; Dave Bender and Tim Clarke, trumpets; Mike Curtis, clarinet/alto sax; Mark Forrest, guitar; Glenn Griffith, trombone; Frank Kenney, tenor sax; Alan Tarpinian, drums, and Nathan Waddell, bass. Clarke also did the arrangements.

To tie the show together, narrator John Vavrek will give historical anecdotes.

"It's quality music," Retallack says. "You can hardly sit and listen to it without tapping your feet ... it puts you in a mood to move, to dance, to enjoy."


The Big Bands Era

What: Hit songs popularized by the big bands from 1920 to 1940 will be sung by the Eugene Concert Choir, accompanied by a 10-piece swing band; conducted by Diane Retallack

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 29

Where: The Hult Center's Soreng Theatre, Seventh Avenue and Willamette Street

How much: $14 to $26, through the Hult Center box office (682-5000)

Fred Crafts can be reached at 338-2575 or
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; 100-voice chorus and a swing band will perform some great standards
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 22, 2004
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