There is quite simply nothing like singing with a big band! Thankful to the City of Fruita Colorado for inviting us back for their Thursday night Summer Concert series this year! Frank Bregar Orchestra is a 10-piece big band based in western Colorado. Most of the band is comprised of local music teachers who also play in other local bands. There is a lot of talent out here in remote Western Colorado!
Our concert was Thursday July 18, 2019 in Fruita’s downtown outdoor park. These free outdoor community concerts are wonderful; people bring picnic baskets, beverages, lawn chairs. And it is so inspiring to see children enjoying the big band music! Keep in mind, these clips are not professional recordings; we use what we can at these concerts!
Several little girls ran over to me during break and just looked at me smiling, not saying anything. Finally I asked, “are you enjoying the big band music?” And they excitedly jumped up and down with enthusiastic “yes!” They cheered me on through the second set and melted my heart!
By the way, Bésame mucho, the song clip above, is my absolute favorite song in the world to sing. I just love the horn parts in the arrangement!
The band for this concert, led by Frank Bregar on lead sax, with Tom Watson next to him, plus tenor saxes Nathan Wilson and Dane Skelton. Ron Bradley and Judd Berry on trumpets; Greg Karly on trombone. Trusty Rob Labig on drums (we go back 14 years), Waylon Jordan on bass, and Max Reilly on piano.
When you only get one rehearsal, you definitely appreciate the talents and skills of active musicians! I love Frank’s bluesy sax solo in Busy Being Blue! And of course the trumpet parts by Ron and Judd in Big Bad Handsome Man! (Must be that sassy wa-wa sound; love that!)
Most of the big band songs I sing were arranged by Clark Gault, who has been arranging for big bands for decades. He’s definitely my favorite go-to arranger.
Since I Fell for You (clip below) was the last song I sang; I like singing it last because I can put any left over energy into it without worrying about saving my voice for more songs like I do on the first few! And it is quite simply a blast to sing!
I’m extremely thankful to Frank and our fabulous local musicians who play in his big band for letting me sing with them! I broke my leg/hip early June and was worried about being able to make the concert, but the surgeons took me off the walker and crutches a week before, so even though I was limping, I was so danged happy to be there — alive and singing — that I didn’t even notice the soreness until after the concert!
Events like a broken leg tend to have a profound effect on one’s levels of appreciation — and humility — as to just how fragile, fleeting, and interdependent we are as a species; and that opportunities such as singing with a big band, are rare and special and not to be taken for granted. And I used that as an excuse to go ahead and wear the sparkly dress! (I’ve always wanted to sing in a sparkly dress!)
Big band singing is my favorite thing to do in the whole world. (In case that wasn’t obvious!) And I never thought I’d sing again after losing my voice, my high clear smooth voice, several years ago. So to be singing again — albeit lower, raspier — is like getting life bonus treats. Especially at my age! Feeling oh so thankful, humble, and … yes, exhausted and happy! Actually, I’m still in the clouds… I’ll write more on this later, but right now want to get the clips up for sharing! (There’s a funny backstory on the dress I’m wearing at the concert that I definitely want to add here.)
Oh, to hear professional recordings of my songs over the past decades, click on the musicology page on this site. Whew, what a week!