On Saturday May 4 at 7 pm, the Perth Civitan Club will open its doors to fans of the sounds of Big Bands, who will be able to enjoy a full evening of live music, along with dance lessons, a silent auction, and more, all under the title, Swing Into Spring. Whether folks enjoy ballroom or swing dancing, or want to learn how to do the Single Swing or Foxtrot (courtesy of Bob and Evelyn Abell, formerly of Arts in Motion), the event will be an opportunity to enjoy tunes from the 1920s to the 1960s performed by the much-loved 16-piece Big Band, Standing Room Only.
Organized by the Classic Theatre Festival, the evening will also feature a range of silent auction items, including tickets to the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, the Upper Canada Playhouse, Thousand Islands Playhouse, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, among many other items.
“It’s a great fit for us, because our mandate is to produce the classics of Broadway, which is essentially the same period that saw the rise in popularity of jazz and swing music,” says Festival Artistic Producer Laurel Smith. “When we launched the Festival in 2010, our first public event was with Standing Room Only, and we had such a great turnout – with requests to do it again – that we felt it was the right time to give the band a call.”
Standing Room Only, founded in 2003 by trombonist and Almonte resident Catherine Illingworth, with members from the Almonte and Ottawa areas, has become well-known for its Sunday tea dances at Almonte’s Old Town Hall, along with gigs throughout Eastern Ontario from Merrickville's Jazz Fest, Almonte's RiverEdge Festival, The Art of Being Green, Puppet's Up!, The Young Awards, the Ottawa Swing Dance Society, the Bird House Auction, and “A Country Christmas Remembered” in Spencerville.
The event will also be the official spring launch to the Festival’s summer season of Broadway hits, which this year will feature the Neil Simon comedy about the attraction of opposites, “The Star-Spangled Girl,” and Leslie Stevens’ classic play of marital mayhem, “The Marriage-Go-Round.” The season, which runs July 12-September 1, will take place at a new venue, the Full Circle Theatre at 26 Craig Street (next to Last Duel Park). The Festival is also organizing, in conjunction with the Perth Museum (Matheson House) a special Theatre History Exhibit focusing on both the original Canadian productions of this season’s shows, as well as artwork, designs, and photos of performers from the founding years of Canadian professional theatre.
Tickets to the Swing into Spring event are $25 (plus a minimal ticketing fee), and are available at Tickets Please (39 Foster Street) in Perth, or by calling (613) 485-6434. Anyone purchasing tickets before April 15 will be entered into a draw to win a one-year membership with the Canadian Automobile Association.
Meanwhile, individuals wishing to take advantage of the Early Bird special or Season Pass for the 2013 Classic Theatre Festival can receive their discounts (and choose their shows dates later!) by visiting www.classictheatre.ca or calling 1-877-283-1283.