Special to the Killeen Daily Herald

When Swingtime Big Band takes the stage at Killeen Community Center on Thursday, they will have some special guests.

"We've invited the Harker Heights High School Jazz Ensemble to perform along with Swingtime," said Margo Coster, program coordinator for the community center. "The two bands complemented each other so well at 'A Knight of Jazz' last month and we know our audience will enjoy listening and dancing to two bands for the price of one."

The center schedules a big band concert and dance each month, with Swingtime headlining the event for the past two years.

"We have a great time," Coster said. "There are refreshments, several prize drawings, a large dance floor and lots of extra chairs for listeners. It's a real bargain at $3 per person, and folks of all ages are welcome."

Swingtime Big Band, headquartered in Killeen, is made up of college students, music educators, full and part-time professional musicians.

"One of our standout saxophone players, Cedric Walters, is an alumnus of the Harker Heights High School band program," said Steve Pettit, Swingtime band leader. "Cedric joined us as an outstanding high school student and he's now a junior at the University of North Texas. He just gets better and better."

The event will feature music from Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Harry James, Duke Ellington and other icons of the big band era. "We always play some waltzes and Latin tunes for our serious dancers," Pettit said. "And, Beer Barrel Polka traditionally announces the beginning of the prize drawings."

This performance will be the final one of the school year for the 2011-12 Harker Heights Jazz Ensemble, directed by Christopher Amsler. Swingtime also appears at The Crescent Lounge in Killeen on the first and third Sundays of each month.

The concert and dance is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Tickets are available at the door for $3.

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