Big Band sound comes to Rockford

Big Band sound comes to Rockford

By music review

By Lisa Palmeno

Staff Writer

Professor Lynn’s All-Star Big Band is bringing the big band sound of the 1930s and 1940s back to Rockford.

Lynn and his daughter, Kathy, have organized an ongoing fundraiser with the elegance, class and style of the formal affairs of Depression-era entertainment. Slated for four Sundays in January, the event has already been held on Nov. 26 and Dec. 3 and 10, with the next performance/dance scheduled for Dec. 17. “Let’s Dance” occurs from 3-6 p.m at the Clock Tower Resort.

The Dec. 10 event had young and old alike dancing to the standards of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. The 18-piece band, comprised of men in their 20s from the area, plays with the quality and precision of the world-famous bands to which they pay tribute, adding the clarity only a live band can offer. Led by Lynn, the All-Stars replicate favorites such as “In the Mood,” “String of Pearls,” “Hello Dolly,” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

Local vocalist Harriet Ford sang “At Last,” lending the expressive sounds of yesteryear with her alto voice and controlled vibrato. Standing next to the grand piano, her performance seemed very nostalgic. Natasha Jackson sang a bosa nova style song, “Girl from Ipanema” by Antonio Carlos Jobin.

Lynn said the band knows about 400 tunes, consisting of swing, waltz, cha cha, mamba, jazz and more. Since they began the fundraiser for the homeless as a tribute to Lynn’s recently departed spouse, Joyce, the band has been booked for three weddings by people who have attended the dances.

Kathy Lynn showed her enthusiasm when asked about the success of the shows. “I feel that there is a need for this in Rockford, and from what everyone is telling me, that is true. We’re getting an awful lot of feedback from everyone. They love it. They just love it.”

January performances will be preceded by dance lessons an hour before the events, from 1-2 p.m., given by Arthur Murray School of Dance. Many of the dancers obviously had a few lessons; they shifted steps easily for each new selection. Dancers Carl and Betty Ostic were on hand to practice their talents. They heard about the All-Star Big Band through the dance club they belong to, Ostende, the oldest dancing club in Rockford. The Ostics have been members for four years. They also belong to another dance club, Cotillion.

A young lady who was dancing sported spat-style shoes as she kicked up her heels with her partner, while small groups sat at round tables decorated with square mirrors topped with tealight candles in clear votives and sparkles on the tablecloths. Names were drawn, and door prizes were given to attendees. Gifts included one free dance lesson; a gift certificate from Candy Bouquet; dinner at LaMere’s; a gift certificate from Sally Huss Gallery; and a free massage.

A highlight of the afternoon was the drum solo during which the rest of the youthful band took their break. When asked about the interest of so many young people in big band, Prof. Lynn said that these musicians are very well organized and rehearsed. He commented that when he had his first band at age 18, all of the members were teenagers, and the piano player was only 15.

For anyone interested in attending the events, the tickets are $10 in advance/$12 at the door. A cash bar will be open. Contact Kathy Lynn at 847-363-4814. Kathy Lynn stressed that people don’t have to dance, they can just come and listen.

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