Annual Big Band Dance set for April 6 at South Plains College


LEVELLAND – The South Plains College Jazz Band and 18-piece SPC Dance Orchestra will fill the room with the music of the 1940s during the annual Big Band Dance at South Plains College. The performance is set for 7 to 10 p.m. on April 6 (Saturday) in the SPC Sundown Room.                

Admission will cost $7.50 per person or $15 per couple, and payable at the door. 

This year’s concert marks the 30th anniversary of the Big Band Dance. According to Jon Johnson, retired SPC faculty member and former chairperson of the Fine Arts department, the effort began not only to raise funds for scholarships, but to keep alive the music of that era. 

“In our first few years, the dance was attended by a lot of World War II veterans and their wives,” he said. “They were in their late 60s and 70s and they loved to dance because that was the music of their generation. 

“We even had some of veterans attend the dance wearing their uniforms,” he said. “We’ve also had a lot of SPC student vocalists perform with us. This continues to be a SPC tradition.” 

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Wilburn and Helen Wheeler Band Scholarship and the Fred and Bettye Harris Music Scholarship. Wilburn Wheeler was SPC’s first band director. Fred Harris helped organize the SPC Foundation. 

Patrons will have the opportunity to fill the dance floor to big band swing music of the 1940s. Among the songs to be performed will be playing music from the Big Band Legends: In The Mood - Glen Miller, Lil’ Darlin, All Right OK You Win - Count Basie, A’ Train, Satin Doll- Duke Ellington, Begin The Beguine - Artie Shaw, Sentimental Journey and many others. 

Performers will include saxophonists Don Turner, clarinet; Katie Borg, SPC alumna; James McEnroe, Daniel Timberland, assistant band leader at Coronado High School; and Charlie Cross, retired band director. Trombone players are Bruce Keeling, retired band director; Danny Gonzales and current SPC students Jason Shick and Blayne Rogers. Trumpet players are current SPC faculty member Dr. John Kennedy, associate professor of Fine Arts; Grady Alberts, retired band director; and current SPC student Izzy Rocha. Other performers are Al Gardner, professor of Fine Arts, percussion; Jon Johnson, retired SPC faculty member; and current SPC student Colin Veasey, bass. The vocalist will be Desirea Coronado. 

For more information, contact Dr. Kennedy, at (806) 716-2508.