The Sway Katz “Dancin’ The Night Away”
The Sway Katz “Dancin’ The Night Away”
Saturday, August 1, 2015 7:30 PM
Harvester Performance Center, Rocky Mount, VA
- Ticket Price: $20.00 - $22.00
- Door Time: 7:00 PM
The Sway Katz are:
Kim Pitts has provided vocal talent for rock n' roll and swing bands in Virginia and Pennsylvania and has appeared onstage in a number of musical theater and comedy productions. Kim is confident that audiences of EVERY age will love what the Sway Katz have to offer. Kim says to wear your dancin' shoes (or kick them off!) and hit the floor. The more you dance, the better the band plays!
If you want to win a bet, challenge somebody to not smile, when they hear this guy play! Calvin's style is a sort of boots Randolph meets John Coltrane. Adding his natural talent for improvisation, Calvin can coax a wide range of emotions from some bits of metal and wood. He's known as "The Calvinator". We are grateful that Calvin finds time to lend his considerable talent to the "Katz" in addition to his solo sax act and work with several other area bands, including his own jazz combo, "Quintessence".
John Allen holds down the lead tenor sax line for the Katz and picks up an occasional clarinet solo just to keep his chops in shape. John has shared his talent with several swing bands including the Ken Epperly Orchestra, the Nobleman Dance Band, the Stardusters and Northwest Jazz.
Don Wimmer is our multi-instrumentalist Lead Alto player. You will definitely see him in the middle of the Sax section playing the Alto but then you turn your back for a moment and SHAZAM there he is with a flute or a clarinet in his hands! Don has played with the Katz for years until we finally got him in his permanent place up front and center. Don also plays with a few other combos in Roanoke so don't be surprised if you see him on stage at the Hotel Roanoke or at Roanoke college.
Consider Tammy Pentecost your "friend in low places" as she holds down the baritone sax line for the Katz. While the bari sax is her Katz specialty, Tammy spreads her talent between the sax, trumpet, melophone, and bass and contrabass clarinets. Tammy plays with the Winds of the Blue Ridge and the Bedford Community Orchestra enjoying the performance of all types of music to keep her sanity.
Linda Holds down the second Alto spot for the Katz. She returns after a 6 year absence from the Katz Sax Lineup and believe me we are glad to have her back!
Jon Shannon brings 34 years of musical experience to our group. In addition to leading the Sway Katz trombone section is an aspiring arranger/composer. Jon has a reputation as a swinging trombonist but is also known for writing and teaching marching band drills. Leveraging his experience as a Drum Corps International Alumnus Jon has served as the drill designer for Lord Botetourt's Marching Cavaliers as well as other high schools from New York to Texas.
Bruce has been playing Lead Trombone with the Katz from the very beginning. Before joining the Katz Bruce worked as a professional trombonist for 40 years. He has played Principal and Bass Trombone professionally in Symphony Orchestras, Jazz groups, touring companies, as well as being involved in numerous recording sessions on both sides of the mixing board. Bruce is president of Creative Teleproductions, Inc., producing local, national and international projects. Check out this multifaceted band member at his web site www.brauns.net.
Coming back from a swing band hiatus through college, Paul Weinwurm brings up the rear on bass bone. An electrical engineering graduate of Virginia Tech, he received several awards throughout high school for his participation in stage band (including 2 outstanding soloist awards). He currently plays with the Roanoke Valley Community Band and the Stardusters.
Spencer began trombone at age 5, going on to earn awards such as all-state band and symphony, and scholarships to Furman University. While completing a degree in physics and math, he played professionally (Greenville Symphony, Glen Miller, Barnum & Bailey, Billy Butterfield, and others). Next, he served as a military officer, then worked in high tech R&D. After 25 years as scientist, businessman, and executive (Union Carbide, Corning Glass, Mobil’s Solar Division), he settled locally and returned to his musical roots. These days Spencer plays orchestral, jazz, church, theater, and band music. Credits include opera (Roanoke), orchestra (New River Valley, Lynchburg, Bedford, Eurydice), big band (Dee Roberts, Bob LaFever, Roanoke Jazz, Old Pros, SRO, Stardusters), trombone ensemble (VA Tech, Blue Ridge), brass quintet (Quintessential, Star City), and the show band Kings of Swing. As soloist, Spencer has performed with VA Tech Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra Eurydice, Summer Concerts At The Lake (Greenville, SC), and community bands in Wytheville, Roanoke, and Blacksburg.
Don Hershey comes to us via Cincinnati and Charlotte, where he and his lovely wife of 30 years, Jean Marie, opened a 250-seat jazz club that featured many of the nation's best-known jazz artists. Nowadays, Don lends his musical talent to several groups. He plays trumpet and piano and is an accomplished arranger. His day gig utilizes a bachelors degree in engineering and an MBA in manufacturing operations.
John Stump has been making music since his momma sat him down for piano lessons at age five. He began focusing on the trumpet as his main instrument at age 13, and has continued playing the horn since. John is a graduate of the James Madison University, School of Music. He maintains an active performance schedule with multiple Roanoke based ensembles, works as a for-hire horn section leader, trumpeter and arranger, and always enjoys joining a wide variety of groups in one of the many area recording studios.
Dick Kazee has been playing Trumpet since 1962. Originally from Logan, WV, Dick played Lead Trumpet with the WVU Jazz Band in the late 60's. In addition to the Sway Katz Dick Plays in the Old Pros Big Band, The Noblemen, The Blacksburg Community Band and the Street Players, a rock and roll group from Logan, WV. You may have also heard him in the band for local productions of the musicals Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Annie, South Pacific, The Wizard of Oz and The Music Man.
David Baum is an accomplished trumpet player and member of The Sway Katz, whose musical background includes the Boston Crusaders , 1980 27th Lancers, The Bridgemen and many jazz bands and orchestras. Dave is currently the lead trumpeter for the Virginia-based salsa band "Latin Clave All Stars". When not playing his horn David's work as a visionary jewelry designer for over 32 years has put him at the forefront of production of extraordinary pieces for celebrities, athletes, organizations, and the movie and television industries. He is currently the jewelry designer for the hit Fox television series "Sleepy Hollow" and creates custom-designed signature mouthpieces for brass players through Mouthpiece Express.
Billy "B.J." Purcell has been working as a professional musician since age 14 when he appeared with a popular local act, the Tide Family. At age 19, he became a staff musician for The Greenbrier Hotel and Resort in West Virginia, playing drums with the original Populaires. While there, he was exposed to the fine points of professional music, working with players including Kenny Martin, former singer for the Jimmy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo bands. Billy's 40 years of experience covers country, rock, swing, and jazz.
John Winnicki has been playing music since he was six years old, starting with piano and violin. As a teen, he added guitar, bass, cello, and vibes to his repertoire. After graduating college John spent 5 years traveling the world eventually landing as musical director for the Prague Jazz Orchestra, a post he held for 8 years receiving critical acclaim. Working as a chemical engineer in his spare time, John also currently plays with the Floyd-Montgomery Jazz Project, The Wildlife and The Jiving Five as well as various other small Jazz Combos.
Eric began performing professionally as a fiddle player at age 13. He took up cello in junior high and bass in college performing in many ensambles along the way. Some notable bands from the past include Cheaper Than Therapy, Eli Cook and Redhouse, Jacki B & the Backburners, South 29, The Tendencies, John Doe and the Nobodies, and Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes. Recordings of Jacki B & the Backburners and the Tendencies have been heard as "Featured Artists" on Danish Radio's Blues Hour. In addition to his current "bassman" role with the Sway Katz Jazz Orchestra, Eric performs with Paddy Dougherty, the Sophistokatz, the Great River Jazztet, Jus'Tone and Musicianism. He is also a member of the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, the Bedford Community Orchestra and serves as Principal Bassist for the Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Farmville Quintet and the Central Virginia Choral Society Orchestra. Where does he find the time?
Karen Nichols plays keyboard with The Katz, the Bedford Community Orchestra, the dinner jazz combo Sophistokatz, and in concert in various venues. She spent twenty three years on the west coast, playing solo piano in Los Angeles and the Bay area, and teaching music in the classroom and privately. She has been a church musician since the age of 15. She has her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and graduate teaching credentials from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California. She teaches voice and piano in her private studio in Bedford, Virginia. Her teachers include Michael Garson, Marc (Cohen) Copland, and Scott Walter. She is influenced by the music and playing of Bill Evans, George Shearing, Bill Cantos, Gregg Karukas,and Shelby Flint. Her father played trombone and sang with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, her mother was an accomplished pianist, and brothers John and Jim Nichols are guitarists in the San Francisco area.
Pete comes from the Sway Katz via Puerto Rico and New York City. He comes from a family of Percussionists. His playing is Influenced by many different styles of music, Afro Cuban Rhythms, Latin Jazz, Jazz, Mambo, Salsa, and now with Sway Katz. Pete also plays with a variety of Salsa, Jazz, Blues and Christian bands in Roanoke V.A. He is also a member of Latin Clave V.A. of Roanoke.
Sway Katz Alumni Hall of Fame - Katz from Years Gone by.......
Justin Berkley kept the alto section swinging for 5 years. A veteran of many of the Sway Katz tranfomative early performances, Justin's solos still reverberate through the minds of anyone lucky enough to see those shows! Catch up with Justin at the Sax on the Web online forum.
Hal Peterson - Friend, Soundman and Sway Katz Benefactor.
Hal was our Sound man who worked with us at every rehearsal for 6 years as well mixing our live sound at all of our gigs culminating with the June 2013 Pine Tavern show. In addition Hal was a benefactor of the band helping us buy music and supplies over the years. He was a great guy and his presence will be missed.
For over 6 years Scott handled the creative and musical direction of the Sway Katz. He retired from this position in May 2014 after leaving an indelible mark on the Band. Scott began playing trumpet professionally at age 15. His musical experience includes big band and small combo jazz, R&B, latin, theater, orchestral, contemporary, and studio recording. He lived in Dallas and New York before moving to his current home in Montvale, Virginia. In addition to playing, Scott is also a composer, teacher, improviser, and conductor, also serving as conductor and music director of the Bedford Community Orchestra in Bedford, Virginia.
Dean has been playing Trombone for over 40 yrs playing in everything from small groups to symphony orchestras, but most of all Dean loves the big band sound. He studied music ed at DePaul University in Chicago and taught music in Chicago and Virginia. When Dean is not playing he works as a Retirement Planner for the AmeriLife Group.
Pat was one of the founding members of the Sway Katz occupying the second alto chair since the band's inception. In addition to her "saxxy" role in the Katz Alto section Pat has contributed her musical talent to numerous Roanoke area bands including the Stardusters, Roanoke Community Band, Northwest Jazz, Winds of Change and the Bedford Community Orchestra. While in Roanoke she served on the Sway Katz Supreme Council and on the board of Winds of Change. Pat left the band in 2010 for a job somewhere in the vast American west. Too far away to commute to rehearsals.
John Yates was the original bass player for the Sway Katz and logged 3+ years with the band including work on the Sway Katz eponymously titled first CD. You will see John lending his groove to any number of Roanoke area bands including Caravan.
Wade was the original Sway Katz "tickler of the ivories." You can still catch Wade playing around Roanoke with the Jiving Five, and his ever-struggling rock band Chedwig Hesko.
Before Rick's stint with the Katz, he had been playing trumpet for 35 years, participating in band programs from Gretna High School through the University of Tennessee. His trumpeting experience includes numerous solo performances, ensemble, symphonic band, theater, gospel, jazz, and big band. He was a member of The Franklin Brass, a classical brass sextet, where he teamed with fellow SwayKat Robbie Hunt. Rick currently performs with the Danville Symphony Orchestra and the Bedford Community Orchestra, where he also serves as Vice President.