The percussion thrums and the brass churns as a smooth, suave singer coaxes the audience to its feet with the standards that have had folks swaying for decades.
It’s the sound of the classic swing-band era, and you don’t have to travel back in time to enjoy it.
Just travel to Rockville.
That’s where you’ll enjoy stellar performances by the Rockville Swing Band, an all-volunteer group that pays homage to the classics while giving modern ditties a bold, bright feel.
The band got its start as a sister group to the Rockville Concert Band, which was founded in 1957 and sponsored by the city of Rockville.
According to the Rockville Swing Band’s lead alto sax player, Marcia Doerr, the offshoot band was formed a few years later when “a group was needed to perform at the Rockville Classic and Antique Car Show.”
It’s had Montgomery Countians dancing ever since.
Five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, a piano, a bass, guitars, drums, and two singers constitute the band. Doerr comments that Eleanor and Bill Hetrick are their star performers, playing on “piano and trombone, respectively.”
These two hep cats were founding members of both the Rockville Concert and Swing bands, and they contribute greatly to the bands’ 50-plus-year history.
Swing band leader Rob Putt has an important role in the group, as well, making “musical decisions and [guiding] the group in rehearsals and performances,” says Doerr.
The band’s repertoire is as interesting and diverse as the musicians themselves, consisting of jazz, swing, and modern—everything from Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing” to the contemporary “Mambo #5.”
The Rockville Swing Band performs in a wide range of venues and reaches all types of audiences, says Doerr, including “youth [and] the folks who made swing music what it is.”
When they’re not performing, Doerr adds, the band’s charity-minded members are all about volunteering in and around the region as part of their unique commitment to “continual community service to Rockville and surrounding areas.”
Now, that’s pretty cool.
Ready to get your Benny Goodman-era groove on? Catch a performance by the Rockville Swing Band! Learn more at rockvilleswingband.com.