Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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20190123 IMG 9472It didn't really matter what song the Swing Street Big Band performed, the sound was incredible and each piece was performed to perfection.

As the name of the band suggests, they performed music from the ‘big band” era, but they did so much more, playing an extremely wide selection from several decades.

“Blueberry Hill,” “In the Mood,” “Moments to Remember” or “Celebration.” were just a morsel of what they delectable sounds could conjure. Whatever tune or style – Latin dances, waltzes, tangos, merengues – either Silvia and Bill Robinson, Vernon and Kathleen Carlson or Randy and Diane VanNorstrand would be in their element on the dance floor, dressed to the nines with glitter and class, at Fun N Sun Resort Prom Night in San Benito with the Swing Street Big Band.

The couple, who met through ballroom dancing events, were amazingly graceful on the hardwood floor, gliding, twirling and dipping in such perfect harmony that even Fred Astaire would approve. It was hard not to take notice of them dancing on air, showing their passion for ballroom dancing.

“We started dancing together in 1962,” said Randy VanNorstrand, who also spent time as a dance instructor. He and Diane have danced in some of the most famous and elegant ballrooms across the country including the Ballroom on the Roof in Indianapolis and the Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs, Ill.

“We love to dance,” said Randy, who along with his wife are from Oklahoma City. “We've been fortunate to dance in the mecca of ballrooms.”

Vernon and Kathleen Carlson aka “The Texas Twosome” according to a business-style card they hand out, like the other two couples, are serious dancers. They all can talk about the floor makeup, different styles of dancing from American Standard to Argentinian and just about any dance. At one time, Kathleen Carlson was a competitive dancer and her biggest moment came when she participated in a Fred Astaire dance competition. “It was fantasy land,” Kathleen said. “It was awesome.”

They said they love director Bill Comeau and his Swing Street Band and will regularly follow the band for a night on the dance floor.

Swing Street Big Band is an 18-piece show/dance orchestra playing throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The band includes many band directors – some who currently teach in the Rio Grande Valley and some who are retired band directors from the Midwest who are now Winter Texans.

Influences for the band include Benny Goodman, Les Brown, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Les Elgart, Harry James, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, The Beatles, Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago.

On Saturday, the band performed three sets and nearly 40 tunes. Couples danced throughout the night and in the back there was a group learning to line dance to the wide variety of songs.

Silvia and Bill Robinson have been married for 14 years and are huge fans of Fred Astaire style of dances. Silvia is from McAllen and Bill is from Chicago. They said they will follow the Swing Street Band all over the Valley. “They are just very danceable,” Silvia said. “And they're always adding new songs.”

One of the newer songs added to the list was “Old Time Rock 'n Roll.”

“I haven't seen this one on their program before – definitely not would I would call big band song,” Bill joked.

“It doesn't matter,” Silvia said. “They'll make it sound great anyway.”

2018 – 2019 Swing Street Big Band Schedule

Sun., Jan. 27, 3 pm - Alamo Rose – Show/Dance
Sun., Feb. 3, 3 pm – Casa Del Sol – Show Dance
Sat., Feb. 9, 7 pm – Cottonwood Country Club – Dance
Sun., Feb. 17, 3 pm – Fun ‘N Sun – Matinee Dance
Thurs., Feb. 28, 7 pm – Nikki Rowe High School- Joint Concert
Sun., Mar. 10, 3 pm – Fun ‘N Sun – Matinee Dance
Sat., Mar. 16, 7 pm – McAllen High School – Joint Concert
Fri., Mar. 29, Following MWE Concert – Gala Ball, McAllen Performing Arts Center

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