The increasingly popular Frank Parsons Big Band concerts at Richey Suncoast Theatre wind up the 2010-2011 season on Wednesday with "Let's Fly Away," named for the 1930 song from the musical The New Yorker by Cole Porter.
But even before the final show, tickets are selling fast for the 2011-2012 season that goes from Oct. 12 through May 9 (more on that later).
Music lovers from Crystal River to Clearwater fill most of the seats in the 325-seat theater during the winter months and most of them in the "shoulder season."
The reason is clear: Parsons' 17-member group gives them the music they want — Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller — and the instrumentations they love — heavy on the brass, solid reed section, rich percussion, and a traditional song stylist in Liz Antony.
A bonus is the patter between songs, when Parsons gives carefully researched history and background about the upcoming number, sometimes throwing in a little quiz to let the audience members share what they know.
Band members have changed since Parsons founded the group in 1993, but the sound remains steady and solid, thanks to his recruiting and guidance, as well as the good humor of longtime member and conductor Fred Nunes, who also plays trumpet.
Each two-hour concert has a theme, with music and arrangements chosen from Parsons' personal music library of more than 4,000 songs. All shows are at 2 p.m.