Swing To That Big Band Sound
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians Come to the Academy Theatre
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians perform at the Academy Theatre, 275 Chestnut Street in Meadville, on October 20 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $25.50 and can be purchased at 814-337-8000 or www.theacademytheatre.org.
Known for “the sweetest music this side of Heaven,” a description coined by Ashton Stevens of the Chicago Tribune in 1928, the music of the Lombardo family has been delighting listeners since 1917. What began as a quartet including the Lombardo brothers Guy, Carmen, Lebert, and Freddie Kreitzer, expanded to the group we recognize today by 1924. By this time it was already known as Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians and was in residency in a Cleveland nightclub.
Several elements characterized the Lombardo sound: the smooth vibrato of the saxophones, led by Carmen’s alto; Carmen’s emotive singing, often satirized for its marked tremolo and precise diction; the preponderance of schottisches in the orchestra’s repertoire; the use of the tuba instead of a double-bass, and in a harmonic rather than rhythmic role; and the quiet drumming of Gowans, barely audible save to the other musicians.
The orchestra’s membership was quite stable, many musicians playing for over 40 years with the group. After Guy’s death, the orchestra passed through several hands, including many Lombardos. It has come to rest now under the skillful direction of Al Pierson. Taking over in 1989, after starting his professional music career at the age of 14, Al Pierson has brought the orchestra back to glory, touring all 50 states and 54 coutries.
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians is the longest running dance orchestra in the world, with over 500 hit songs to its name, more than any other orchestra in the world. It was their influence that made the Scottish ballad Auld Lang Syne a New Year’s tradition. The Academy Theatre may not be a dance hall, but if the music moves you don’t resist the urge to kick up your heals as you listen to this big band treasure.
For more information about Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, please call 814-337-8000 or visit www.theacademytheatre.org.
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