Swingtime Big Band

Killeen’s jazz orchestra, Swingtime Big Band, pictured at The Crescent Lounge, will perform a dance/concert today at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple from 8 to 11 p.m.

Courtesy photo

Killeen’s jazz orchestra, Swingtime Big Band, will perform at Temple’s Cultural Activities Center tonight.

“We’ve played many times in Temple — at In The Mood Ballroom, Wildflower Country Club and for the city of Temple’s big Christmas party— but this is our first time at the CAC,” trumpeter Ed Hernandez said. “It’s the premier performing arts venue for Central Texas, so we’re really stoked.”

Tonight’s event is billed as a combination dance/concert, and is a fundraiser for the center’s educational programs, CAC Marketing Director Jane Boone said. “We have kept ticket prices low, and it’s a family friendly event. ... We wanted this great musical experience to be available at a reasonable cost.”

One of the educational programs the fundraiser benefits is the “Music Is Instrumental” weekly session.

“It’s free and held on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7-ish and is for all ages — anyone interested in instruments from the orchestra or band — newbies, comeback players, people curious about playing a musical instrument,” Boone said.

Musicians from Swingtime along with other professionals demonstrate techniques, and participants have the chance to “get up close and personal with the actual instruments,” she said.

The 15-piece orchestra is made up of part- and full-time area professionals, and performs original compositions and arrangements from Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Woody Herman and other icons of the big band era. Vocalist Keely Allison said Swingtime’s repertoire spans the decades.

“We perform the original arrangement as recorded by Les Brown and Doris Day of ‘Sentimental Journey’ — then we move up 40 years and play ‘So Very Hard To Go’ by Tower Of Power,” she said. “It’s a hit parade across the years.”

Tonight’s event takes place in Strasburger Hall, the largest ballroom at the CAC.

“It’s got a big dance floor and we have lots of tables and chairs,” Boone said. “Refreshments will be available or you may bring your own.”

With sultry saxes, sliding trombones and wailing trumpets, tonight’s dance/concert should have something for everyone, Hernandez said. “It’s an unamplified, live powerhouse that’s moving, exciting — and most of all, fun.”

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