The Big Band Reunion was formed in 1991 by co leaders Bob Levy (trumpet) and Nick Keelan (trombone) both of whom performed extensively with big bands. These two music professors at Lawrence University sought to provide a weekly outlet for numerous musicians throughout the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin and to keep the “big band sound” alive and well.
The seventeen member big band of five saxophones, five trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, and drums includes many of the Fox Valley’s finest musicians (personnel). Their repertoire ranges from music of the great big band era to the current and on a given Tuesday night you might hear something from the bands of Benny Goodman, Harry James, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, or Count Basie. The BBR also performs music by local composers including John Harmon, Ken Skitch, Bob Levy, Brad Curran, and Marty Robinson. Their diverse programming includes Latin, swing, and great American standards.
The BBR has produced two recordings (CDs available) and often performs the music from these recordings. In addition to numerous appearances for private gatherings, conventions, school concerts, dances, and banquets, they have performed at the FoxJazzFest, Neenah Jazzfest, and Fon Du Lac jazz festivals and for Lawrence University’s Jazz Celebration Weekend. In summers they are often seen performing at art festivals and outdoor parks. Their jazz festival appearances have often featured guest soloists performing with the BBR including Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Eddie Daniels, Carl Fontana, Marlena Shaw, Ed Shaughnessy, Donny McCaslin, Joe DiBartolo, Sam Pilafian, John Harmon, and Janet Planet.
For the 2013-14 concert season the BBR will be led by co-leaders trumpeter Marty Robinson and trombonist Ken Skitch. They bring their passion and enthusiasm for "keeping that big band sound alive and well" in the Fox Valley. Listeners can look forward to many future swinging ensemble performances by the Big Band Reunion under their leadership."
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