Thursday, March 21, 2019
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20190220 Jazz IMG 1410Two different generations but one common love – everything that has to do with music.

That's exactly what will be happening at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Nikki Rowe High School Auditorium as the Nikki Rowe High School Jazz Ensemble and the Rio Grande Valley's Swing Street Band will each perform arrangements highlighting their musical talents – and that's a lot of highlighting.

“We've never done this before,” said Bob Comeau, director of the Swing Street Band. “This is a way of getting our message out.”

Started by Winter Texans, the Swing Street Band has evolved over the years and is made up mostly of active or retired music educators from around the Valley, including a few Winter Texans. Several of the musicians are actually directors of award-winning high school bands from the area and bring a wealth of talent and experience to complete the full big band sound.

Comeau took over the Swing Street Band six years ago. He said that the band gives those instructors an outlet “to perform and not just teach, which is something of course they love to do.”

Several of the band members are graduates of Texas A&M Kingsville, whose music program is highly recognized.

The band plays music ranging from the early big band days of Glenn Miller's “In The Mood,” to the music that will bring you back to the days of your high school dances and “sock hops,” as they were often called. They've even added a little bit of rock 'n roll to their repertoire.

20190220 Jazz IMG 1341“We perform so many events that this is another way to get out there in front of people and show them the talent and commitment of these kids,” said Roberto Garza, director of bands for Nikki Rowe High School. “We are looking forward to this.”

Tickets are $10 and the event is partially a fundraiser for the Nikki Rowe Band, which will perform first and play tunes such as “Big Dipper,” “Wind Dancer,” “Honk” and the ballad “Samantha.”

Garza said he hasn't heard the Swing Street Band live but has heard recordings, saying “they sound amazingly impressive.”

This is the first of two combined concerts between the Swing Street Band and a high school, the second event being combined with McAllen High. More information on that event will be released soon.

“My goal in bringing Swing Street to the high schools is to inspire these young musicians to continue developing their playing skills and to continue playing beyond their high school years,” Comeau said. “You don’t have to be a music major to continue to enjoy playing music. Wherever you end up, there is usually a band or orchestra in the community that will match up with your skill level.”

Comeau said there are several types of fans that range from seasoned ballroom dancers to folks who just like to move around to the music at the Swing Street Band performances. Then there are those who don’t dance but go to just hear the music – just because of the big band sound. The band plays a variety of shows and up-tempo music with beautiful waltzes and even Latin rhythm sprinkled through the concert.

“We will be providing the community with the opportunity to enjoy an evening of really great music from the big band era,” Comeau said.

“Most of the proceeds from the ticket sales will go to the band boosters to support the Nikki Rowe band program.”

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