DIAMOND ENTERTAINMENT INC.

Presents the

Featuring 

THE GALAXY ORCHESTRA

Under the Direction of

ROSS WOOLDRIDGE

With vocals by 

IAN JUTSUN  

ROBIN LEA

The Kings of Swing Big Band Show takes us back to the glorious era of the Big Bands, those wonderful years from 1935 to 1945.  A time when families huddled around the radio to hear their favourite orchestras, and young couples gathered in front of elegant bandstands, and danced under glittering mirror balls. Radio created a pop music craze that lasted beyond a decade and brought bandleaders and vocalists into the world’s spotlight. The Swing or Big Band Era is marked by music which has proven to be timeless and endearing to people who love to dance. The era also spawned a new generation of headline entertainers: the band singer, or vocalist, who suddenly became the star attraction.

Benny Goodman, The King of Swing, is credited with starting the Swing Era and propelling Big Band music into the mainstream of North American audiences. His Let’s Dance radio series paved the way for a thunderous reception on August 21, 1935 when 10,000 people crowded into the legendary Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, California to hear his hot dance music. This event marked the beginning of the Golden Age of Swing and opened the door for such giants as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Harry James, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and scores of other bandleaders.

In 1939, Harry James, with the help of Benny Goodman, organized his own Music Makers orchestra.  During his search for a male vocalist, James heard a singer on the radio show Dance Parade broadcast live from a roadside club called the Rustic Cabin. The young crooner turned out to be Frank Sinatra, a part-time singing waiter from Hoboken, New Jersey. James hired the cocky Sinatra at the princely sum of $75 per week. During his stint with James, Sinatra recorded his first single All Or Nothing At All.

In 1940 Sinatra accepted Tommy Dorsey’s offer to join his band.  That year, Dorsey, the Sentimental Gentleman of Swing, introduced a song entitled I’ll Never Smile Again written by Toronto’s Ruth Lowe. Sinatra recorded the song backed by the Pied Pipers; it became a major hit and instantly boosted his popularity. The following year, at age 25, Sinatra was declared Best Male Vocalist of the Year by Billboard Magazine. Now more popular than Bing Crosby, Sinatra left Dorsey to launch a solo recording career. Despite an acrimonious ending, Sinatra always gave the bandleader credit as his mentor. In December 1942, Benny Goodman hired Sinatra to perform in New York’s Paramount Theatre. When the dapper teen idol stepped on stage, bobby-soxers went wild. The rest is music history.  Sinatra, a progeny of Big Band music, became a superstar.

The pre-war years were filled with an unbridled enthusiasm for the future. The excitement of this wonderful era is clearly reflected in the memorable music of the legendary…Kings of Swing.

Courtesy of Music World Magazine

GALAXY ORCHESTRA This highly acclaimed 14-member unit has performed together since 1998 and has in its ranks some of Canada’s finest musicians…each ‘stars’ in their own right.  They present a well-rehearsed showcase of outstanding musicianship and versatility, in both group and in front-and-centre solo performances, instrumental as well as vocal.  . The Galaxy All-Star Orchestra headlines the Kings of Swing Big Band Show and the new music review Fabulous Crooners.    Since 1999 the Galaxy All-Stars have starred in shows appearing in theatres such as the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts, Ford Centre for the Arts, the Living Arts Centre, Brockville Centre for the Arts, Oakville Centre for the Arts, Grand Theatre Kingston, Capitol Theatre North Bay, Heritage Theatre in Brampton, the Stephen Leacock Theatre and ArtPark in Lewiston, New York.

ROSS WOOLDRIDGE   (Music Director) – A phenomenal soloist, Ross Wooldridge plays piano, clarinet, flute and saxophone but also writes, arranges and composes. His original Big Band score for the highly acclaimed musical Orpheus in the Underworld was produced in 1995 for Sheridan College. He was also a member of the award-winning Canadian band Mad About Plaid winner of the grand prize for Star Search (1990) in Los Angeles. Wooldridge has performed with numerous headline artists including Ben E. King, The Drifters,  Jeff Healy and currently leads his own jazz band the Dixie Demons. A astounds audiences with skilful piano performances and the peers nominated him in the Best Clarinettist category in the 2003 National Jazz Awards.

IAN JUTSUN –“The magic of music lies in the emotional affect that draws us in as we listen,” says this popular recording artist-singer-entertainer and recipient of a Canadian FACTOR  Songwriting music award. “Through a song not only do you feel you know and identify with the composer but you also recognize more of yourself “ states Jutsun who started singing at the age of 13 with several Montreal-based bands such as Sahara, Black Ice and Foreplay playing local bars and events.Jutsun was featured on a national broadcast show called “Made In Canada” and had a song sent into outer space with Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau.  He  performed on Broadway in the hit musical “Bombay Dreams” and continues to entertained crowds in over 1000 live performances and shows in and around Southern Ontario. Ian has just been nominated in the “Best Male Vocalist of the Year” category in the 2009 Smooth Jazz award.

ROBIN LEARobin Lea is one of Canada’s most talented singers and certainly Canada’s best Big Band vocalist. Her singing style sets the mood with ballads, ‘pop’ or  swingin’ tunes…all sung with heart, soul and energy. She specialises in Big Band favourites and, in the tradition of the vocalists of the 40s (such as Peggy Lee, Doris Day and Helen Forrest) sings with warmth and emotion. She has a magnificent vocal ability and her interpretative skills make her one of the hottest young artists around. Lea has performed in numerous Jazz Festivals and concerts at the Royal York Hotel, The Kee in Bala, Stage West Dinner Theatre, Peterborough Festival of Lights, The Sanderson Centre, Markham Theatre and at many other events and venues.

JOHN DIMON Producer-Director of numerous stage shows, John is CEO of Diamond Entertainment Inc. and Director of the Association for the Advancement of Canadian Talent (AACT.) Dimon is the executive producer of numerous stage productions including Fabulous Crooners, Unforgettable…Brothers of Song and the musicals Stardust Follies and Let’s Sing! Let’s Dance!  Several of his productions have received international recognition for excellence including a coveted Emmy Award, San Francisco Golden Globe and six ANIK craft Awards..