Our Band Biography

Introducing the LET'S DANCE Big Band.

The Bands History

The Big Band was originally formed in 1981 and played a number of "gigs", weddings, balls, dinner dances and concerts. After a few years we decided to form an Octet from the band as a Big Band was not financially attractive for the times.
However over recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the music of the 30’s and 40’s thanks to the broadcasting of our kind of music by many public and community radio stations.  We reformed the bigger band to successfully audition for the Lilydale International venue for dinner dances in 1994 and in the years since we have played for extended seasons at various suburban Hotels as well as special functions at some of Melbourne's elite Hotels including the Palladium Room in the Crown Casino. We initiated big band "special" shows at the ASTOR Theatre playing swinging music after the film showing to a very enthusiastic audience.
We played for the 2010 Remembrance Day Function for the Shrine at the Melbourne Town Hall and accompanied the "Swing Sisters" vocal trio.
We have also played for the RACV, Dizzy's Jazz Club, Weddings, Dance Clubs and local Council events such as the Kingston Art Centre's Sunday Soirees.
We have played for extended seasons at a number of RSL Clubs and we hope to play our SEVENTH season after a 2 year lay-off caused by the Covid virus commencing on May 22, 2022 at the Mentone RSL on the FOURTH Sunday of each month from 1:30 to 4:30pm.
We have also enjoyed playing for fund raising groups such as Community Aid Abroad, the Victorian Jazz Musicians Benefit Fund and a number of Rotary Club Balls.

Spreading the Gospel of Swing we have also played live to air, "warts and all", on community radio 3CR 855 AM and Southern FM 88.3 to very enthusiastic audiences.

Band Personnel

The band is made up of five saxophonists ( all doubling on flutes and clarinets ), a brass section of 3 or 4 trumpets, 3 or 4 trombones and a rhythm section of piano, double bass and drums, with a guitar option - up to 17 in all plus 2 vocalists. There is a good mix of young and older age members all with a broad experience ranging from university music training to many years in the Town Hall dance scene, theatre pit, teaching, jazz and orchestral areas.

Our Repertoire

The arrangements, "charts", we use are in most cases authentic renditions from the well known recordings or unique adaptations for us, along with some writing by band members. Our library covers music from the classic big band era with music from Goodman, Miller, Basie, Shaw, Ellington, Herman, Dorsey, Zentner, James, The Sant Andreu Jazz Band and many more. We are not locked into a set era or style of music and we have charts of many of the great standards and some of the better modern songs.

With the resurgence of swinging music and dancing world-wide we have included more of the music suitable for the Lindy Hoppers and jivers in our repertoire also.

We also have an Old Time dance book covering dances such as the Barn dance, Charmaine, Evening 3 step, Pride of Erin, Swing Waltz, Tangoette, etc.. We enjoy Latin rhythms too and play Cha Chas, the Rhumba, the Samba and the Mambo.

We have great singers with the band also in Anna Struth and Daniel Hedger and they sing favourites from Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Shirley Bassey, Linda Ronstadt, Andrea Motis, Natalie and Nat King Cole, Joe Williams, Bobby Darin, Louis Prima, Michael Buble, Robbie Williams amongst others and we specialise in having many of Frank Sinatra’s most popular songs. Plus we have a number of charts from the Sant Andreu Jazz Band, Barcelona repertoire, - home of all that wonderful music played by talented youngsters under the tutelage of Maestro Joan Chamorro.
Unique to our band are the JASSisters where Anna is joined by Jenny and Su from the band to form a vocal trio, they do their own songs and are sometimes joined by Daniel when we do favourites from the Modernaires or Pied Pipers.

If you enjoy dancing you are almost certain to see Alex and Debbie, 2 very expert dance teachers, at our gigs.

For Smaller Budgets

We can also provide an Octet or smaller bands, for more info check out our Small Combos page for the more intimate venue or limited budgets, such as weddings or parties.

The Costs

If required we can supply a 150 watt P.A. System which boosts our flutes, clarinets, vocals and announcements.
We base our costs on the Musicians Award and special rates can be negotiated for unusual circumstances or charity events.

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E-mail us for a quote on costs and availability or contact
Mike McKeon on 0438 51 7363 to discuss your requirements.