Artist of the day: The Serenaders Big Band
Every week like clockwork they gather to practice the music they love, bellowing great American standards in preparation for their next show, their next audience.
But New Port Richey’s Serenaders Big Band members are the first say they are no spring chickens, and finding people to listen to their catalogue of rich classics is getting harder as their community gets younger.
Recently the band lost its longtime rehearsal space at the Beacon Woods Civic Center amid rising insurance costs. And crowds have gotten so small in the civic center that a Jan. 28 performance in Beacon Woods appears to be the band’s last in that venue. The show may not even go off unless enough $7 tickets are sold to pay insurance costs for one night.
"We are a dying breed," said pianist Joe Walsh, 84, who has been leading or playing in big bands for decades, notably a renowned 35-piece big band in upstate New York, has for years been the backbone of the Serenaders since the death of its founder, Al Garnich.
Photo: Brendan Fitterer, tbt*