Julian Swain—80 and still going strong

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At 80, many seniors decide to sit in their rockers and relax. Julian Swain, whose career as a dancer, singer and choreographer began when he was a teen-ager, is still on stage performing. The last week exemplifies his devotion to the arts and his talent as a vocalist. Bill Doll, another multi-talented gentleman, leads the Greater Rockford Barbershop Chorus and sings with the Tag-A-Longs, a local quartet. At their concert Oct. 22, “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans,” they dedicated the program to the victims of Katrina. Swain, donning a red derby, joined them for “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby…”

Monday, Oct. 24, the African-American Arts Alliance of Chicago presented Swain with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the arts and his fine example for the many young people he has inspired over the years.

It was a busy week, and on Tuesday, Carl, Dianna and Andrew Cole joined him at Clarendon Park in Chicago to entertain an audience of seniors at an event sponsored by Alderman Helen Shiller. Invited back after their performance last year, their program of jazz and gospel gave the audience an hour filled with memories. Bill Doll’s wonderful clarinet solos kept feet tapping.

Carl and Julian’s collaboration has produced the CD In Tribute, and performances in Rockford and Chicago provide audiences with classic American jazz and ballads that restore our faith in music that is easy on the ears.

Congratulations to a fine musician and his ability to continue a lifetime career.

From the Nov. 2-8, 2005, issue

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