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Colorado Swing Big Band at Lagoon

Updated August 7, 2014

The Colorado Swing Big Band will be playing standards at the Lagoon concert on August 12 such as 'Route 66,' 'Summertime,' by George Gershwin, 'It's Only a Paper Moon,' by Harold Arlen, 'For Once in My Life, 'S Wonderful' by Ira and George Gershwin. They'll also be playing contemporary tunes that are outside the jazz genre.

Tuesday, August 12
6:30-8:30 p.m.
West lawn, Lory Student Center

The era of Big Band swing music

At the onset of World War II, big band leader Glenn Miller joined the military to lead the U.S. Army Air Force band. Later, General James Doolittle told Miller, “…Next to a letter from home, your organization is the greatest morale-builder in the European Theater of Operations.”

“He (Miller) wanted to keep music in the hearts and minds of soldiers away from home,” said Kip Scholl, manager and founder of the Colorado Swing Big Band.

Big band era swing music—which became popular around 1935—created nostalgia for American soldiers, and the music still has this effect on many of us today. 

“Music refreshes each listener’s memory,” said Scholl. “You can recall where you were, who you were with, how you felt.

"At the Lagoon concert on July 30, the Colorado Swing Big Band will perform music that you know and can recognize that spans 100 years of American culture.”

The versatility of the Colorado Swing Big Band

Mark Manges, the Colorado Swing Big Band’s music director, said the group will be playing standards, as well as contemporary tunes. “Big Band music has changed a lot since the early days,” he said.

“In addition to the ‘sweet and hot’ standards from the swing era, we’ll also play contemporary tunes, many that come from outside the jazz genre. We’ll play lots of tunes that even non-jazz fans will recognize and enjoy.

The Colorado Swing Big Band recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. They've performed for hundreds of dances, fundraisers, festivals, parties, and weddings.“Today’s bands can pretty much play music from any musical style. Our library includes songs that would be considered pop, rock, Latin, and even country.”

Timeless melodies, lyrics

The standards, however, are still some of the band’s favorites.

“I enjoy putting my own touches on the songs,” said Rosann Winn, the principal vocalist for the band. “The lyrics and melodies are timeless and touch the heart, whether you’ve listened to them for decades or you’re hearing them for the first time.

“Sometimes someone in the audience will tell me that a song I sang was played at their wedding or on their first date decades ago. I feel honored to be able to recreate a little of the magic in a live music setting.”

Count Basie, Dorsey, Gershwin

"The band enjoys playing many of the Count Basie classics written by arranger Sammy Nestico," said Scholl. "Sammy Nestico played trombone in the big bands of Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman and later conducted the U.S. Air Force Band and the U.S. Marine Band.

“At this performance, Rosann will be singing classics like Route 66, Summertime by George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess, It’s Only a Paper Moon, by Harold Arlen, For Once in My Life, ‘S Wonderful by Ira and George Gershwin, and other timeless songs.”

Principal vocalist Rosann Winn with the Colorado Swing Big Band. Image by Craig Vollmer Photography.“My recent favorites,” said Manges, “are the great Etta James’ tune, At Last, and an excellent contemporary arrangement of the jazz standard, My One and Only Love. Rosann does a great job of singing both of these tunes with us.”

"We love the music, performing"

The Colorado Swing Band just had its 10th anniversary. “It’s a challenge, “Scholl said, “to keep any big band together. It requires highly skilled musicians to create the quality of showmanship necessary to make the music sound smooth and easy. We all do this because we love the music and love to perform.

"Like all live music these days, our biggest competitor is the instant entertainment mind set driven by music players and cable TV. However, when people see us perform, they quickly realize that real people creating live music adds a level of energy and excitement not found in passive, recorded performances."

Playing at the Lagoon

“We’re so appreciative of being asked to play the CSU Lagoon series,” said Winn. “I love the great, multi-generational and family environment that is created and how wonderful the audience is to sing and play for.”

“I appreciate the support from Mantooth Company so that we can perform at the lagoon this year,” said Scholl. “The concert setting is so unique. We can reach a thousand of our fans at one time, and we have an appreciative audience of active listeners and enthusiastic dancers.”


The Lagoon Concert Series is owned by Mantooth Company and co-hosted by CSU. 

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