‘Swing Era Big Band’ to kick off concert series


SIDNEY — The Sidney Civic Band summer concert series, which will run for six consecutive Fridays, will begin Friday, June 14, 2019, at 7 p.m., on the courthouse square.

This Friday’s concert will feature The Swing Era Big Band, which will offer an evening of swing and popular music from the big band era, ranging from the golden era of swing bands to the modern sounds of the 1970s.

The band has been entertaining swing music fans and dancers throughout western and central Ohio for the past four decades. Created in 1975 by Andrew “Bud” Ledwith, of Sidney, Swing Era has specialized in keeping the unique sounds of the noted swing bands alive.

This 16-piece band will perform a variety of big band and jazz arrangements of noted musical composers, including Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and Glenn Miller, among others.

The band features modern arrangements of popular songs from the 1930s to the 1970s, specially arranged to capture the unique sound only found in powerful horn-band ensembles.

The band features vocalist Mary Knapke, who has been a performer for many years and was prominently featured in TV and radio promos for Pepsi-Cola while she lived in North Carolina.

Knapke has been active in live theater for many years and had many leading roles. She is well-known for her singing with big bands, such as the Hal Harris Orchestra, The Hauer Swing Band, Frank Neville Orchestra, and Swing Era Big Band. She regularly sings with civic bands in Sidney, Greenville, Columbus, and elsewhere.

Refreshments will be available for purchase on Friday from The Connection Point Church of God Relay for Life Team beginning 30 minutes prior to the free public concert. A Spot Pie will be given away to the winner of the random drawing trivia question. Attendees are encouraged to bring a chair, as none will be provided on the square.

In the event of rain, the concert will be held at Connection Point Church of God, 1510 Campbell Road. An email announcing a location change, if necessary, will be sent out by 4:30 p.m. on each Friday, or attendees can check the band’s Facebook page for information, at www.facebook.com/sidneycivicband.

Major sponsors for this year’s concert season include Emerson Climate Technologies, City of Sidney, Steve and Peggy Baker, Gateway Arts Council, The Kent R. Smith Fund, Dave Ross, Barbara Neville, and Don and Jane Kemp.

Those interested in becoming a donor are asked to send the 100 percent tax-deductible contribution to the Sidney Civic Band, PO Box 298, Sidney, OH 45365-0298. Unless donors wish to remain anonymous, their contribution will be acknowledged in all of the group’s printed programs. Those interested in donating on behalf of a loved one are asked to provide his or her name at the time they make a donation.

Next week’s concert, on June 21, will feature “American Military Heroes & Pop Music.”