Survivors Swing Band, West Haven, CT
Jules Bashkin, Dave Mechler
member since: 11/17/2015
Festival biz experience: 15+ years
USA: West Haven, Connecticut (CT)
Saxophone Phone: (203) 387-9299
A few years ago a recently retired armament repairman looked for new ways to couple his substantial musical talents with his now-plentiful spare time. Via the Wallingford (CT) Senior Center he sought other "seasoned" jazz musicians interested in gathering there for an occasional jam session. Four sufficiently aged senior citizens showed up at the first meeting; together they "didn't sound bad" and they sure had fun! Other musicians joined in, and in time a 7-piece group was setting up every Friday afternoon to "rehearse" and entertain whoever else showed up at the senior center just to listen. They became the WSC "house band", eventually calling themselves the "Survivors" in acknowledgement of some of the original bandmembers who had passed away in the meantime, as well as in recognition of those beloved old melodies that remained favorites despite the passage of the decades.
In the Fall of 2011 one member of this musical gang suggested "taking the band on the road". Encouraged by the others to go out and book some gigs, he did just that, lining up in short order several performance opportunities at other senior centers and assisted living facilities around the state.
And, as they say, the rest is history: The "Survivors Swing Band" has now performed countless times (more accurately, on well over 200 occasions in four years) at such facilities, and other venues as well, all over Connecticut and beyond, like malls, libraries, schools, restaurants, municipal auditoriums and gazebos, backyard parties, wedding celebrations, and even a hot dog stand (yes, really, a hot dog stand!). We have brought back some great musical memories for innumerable seniors and other fans (both young and old!) of Swing-era music.
All of us in the band have played this type of music for many years, in various contexts as indicated in the biographies below. We know these tunes and love them, and we have immense fun performing them. When we perform, we "play it straight" as a group, but we also improvise as the spirit moves each of us individually, giving variety to our musical renderings while ensuring that the melodies remain recognizable and wonderfully reminiscent for our audiences. We believe that our spunk is infectious and our audiences have as much fun as we do. We are pleased to have been asked back many times at several of our venues.
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