Canadian Big Band Celebration a swingin’ weekend for all ages

Whether you like to tango, cha-cha, jive or jitterbug, the Canadian Big Band Celebration (CBBC) on Saturday was the place to be for its 25th Anniversary celebration and one of the widest varieties of music found anywhere.

At the Unifor Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, the CBBC big day (Sept. 21) featured two big shows, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening.

The afternoon show featured the 17-piece Canadian Big Band with music from the 1930s big band era through to today with guest artists such as Sonja Gustafson, crooner Ethan Salmon and Aria 21 who took on the music of the Andrew Sisters of WWII.

Amber Curtis & Meena Nault found big band music different but that didn’t stop them!

Among those in the audience were two groups of high-school students from Bruce Peninsula Shores in Wiarton and Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) in Port Elgin.  The students from Wiarton are studying drama while the SDSS students are taking music with Kerri-Lynn Boys.  Although the music was from their grandparents’ era, they said it was “fantastic”, “incredible” … and once up on the dance floor, it was where they stayed.

The students were sponsored to attend by Southampton Rotary Club.  “We invited students from all the high schools in Bruce County,” said Rotary Club Treasurer, Henry Weichert, “but only the two schools attended.

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The big Saturday night event featured Lulu’s Roadhouse Band, Men in Black and the act that everyone waited for, ‘Elvis’ (a.k.a. Peter Irwin).  Backed by Lulu’s and the Men in Black, ‘Elvis’ had everyone up dancing as he performed well-known hits such as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.

      Men in Black – (L) Cam Porter, Charlie Bell, Ian Burbidge, Wayne McGrath and Peter Rissi

The hall that seats some 600 – 700 people was packed, as was the dance floor all night.