Last Friday Concert Series – Free Swing Show

May 31, 2019 · Doors open at 18:30

Liz Grace & The Swing Thing

Growing up, music was always around. My father, Billy Hunt, (see links below) is a trumpet player from back in the day and he raised me on jazz, swing and classical music. Though my parents divorced when I was a baby, Daddy and I remained very close, and he’s my biggest musical inspiration.

I took a few years of piano lessons (actually many years!) but never took to it. One day when I was about 13, I was clunking along at a lesson, not really playing what was on the page, and singing along to the melody. I think the song was “Shenandoah.” Mrs. Cogswell said, “Stop! Just sing this and I’ll play it.” Like she couldn’t stand it, poor woman. I was really bad. Anyway, I sang the tune and she said, “That’s what you should be doing.” The rest is history…and btw, Shenandoah is still one of my favorite songs.

I grew up in Great Falls, Montana, with my wonderful, supportive and saintly Mommy, in a double wide trailer on Gore Hill. I grew up with wind, wheat, dirt roads and pick up trucks. My favorite gifts were a snowmobile, a motorcycle, and a .22. I still have the bike, and the rifle. Childhood was a country song.

I knew I wanted to give my life to gigging one day when, at my buddy Merle Travis Peterson’s house on Bootlegger Trail, we were messing around with a melody…”Blue skies stay with me now…cuz I can’t stand the rain…” and it just hit me. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else except THAT. It was magical, serendipitous, life-changing. 25 years later, THAT has taken many forms. Currently I split my time between my kickin’, twangin’, country dance band, Three Chord Justice and my swing & jazz classics band, Liz Grace and the Swing Thing.

The Moonlight Serenade Orchestra

We are first and foremost a Big Band in the style of the 1930’s and 1940’s. We are a dance band, not a stage band. We have no “professional” musicians – individuals earning a living by performing – but we strive to make a professional presentation. We have a passion for this music and we try to pass that passion along to our audience.

Our repertoire is structured around the classic Big Band sounds of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Les Brown, Stan Kenton, Les & Larry Elgart, and Harry James. We also appreciate later artists like Buddy Rich, Michael Bublé, and Billy Joel. Our Latin book leans heavily on Antônio Carlos Jobim and Tito Puente. And we’re not above spicing a set up with some rock, disco, or even a polka!

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