Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

New Tarpon Springs band will revive forgotten musical era

TARPON SPRINGS

Before rock music and before the Beatles, when "jazz" was still a naughty word, music swung before there was even such a thing as swing.

"It was an era of constant innovation," said Dan Fox, a local composer and arranger.

Musicians playing ragtime and early jazz wore tuxedos or evening gowns. Couples danced foxtrots and tangos, holding each other and moving together.

That's what Fox, 80, wants to bring to Tarpon Springs.

"It's so old that it will be new," he said.

About a dozen musicians tried to capture that lively sound Wednesday at the first weekly playing session of the new Tarpon Springs community band. Sitting in folding chairs at the Heritage Museum, the musicians ranged in age from a 24-year-old tuba player just out of college to an 82-year-old banjo strummer who says he has jammed with just about every group around town.

But they all showed up for the same reason: They just wanted to play.

"I'm getting old, and no one is calling me for gigs anymore," 45-year-old Steve Boisen said jovially from behind a big double bass.

Sheet music spilled over music stands. Fox had bought and transcribed arrangements from a very precise time period, 1909 to 1934.

A saxophone and a trumpet flirted back and forth in The Very Thought of You. They perked up with a jauntier Rhythm King, then channeled Louis Armstrong with Once in a While.

Feet tapped out the beat. The saxophonist shrugged her shoulder to the soulful melody. Fox sang along, sometimes acting out the missing percussion parts.

Except for those absent roles — a second trumpet, a trombone, drums, maybe another saxophone — the new group started to come together.

Community bands abound in Pinellas County, where scores of talented musicians seek places to play. They volunteer their music in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin and South Pasadena.

"It's a real cultural gem for any city to be able to support these types of groups," said Louis Alan Zagar, music director and conductor for the Dunedin Concert Band. "Without them, the talents would simply wither on the vine."

Free concerts make live music accessible to residents who might not hear these types of tunes anywhere else.

"We bring back memories," Zagar said, "past memories of their lives, with the music we play."

Perhaps the largest group in the county, the Dunedin Concert Band puts more than 80 musicians on the stage in concerts that mimic the Boston Pops Orchestra's. In Tarpon Springs, the community band, which Fox hopes will be called the Nighthawks, will fill a niche with a smaller effort that's more focused on a single specialty.

With such a small group, there's no bigger sound to blend into — each instrument hits a distinct part, and there are plenty of solo opportunities. "There's no place to hide in a place like this," Fox said.

His grand vision flows from a long history with music. Fox remembers huddling by the back door of a jazz club as a teenager in Greenwich Village. He grew into a prolific writer of song books and exercise books before retiring to Tarpon Springs about 20 years ago.

Now he subscribes to YouTube channels and composes neatly printed music on the computer. Too in love with music to find many other interests, he has written an opera and nearly finished a cantata.

But Fox doesn't play anymore. He can't play the way he used to.

Instead, he taught a sight-reading class. And this year, he has the band.

He bets his wife is thinking that it's time for him to retire again. But he feels there's a spot in the local arts scene for his favorite kinds of songs.

"In the music business," he said, "you never know what's going to be a hit."

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or [email protected]

 
Comments
First lady’s ‘I don’t care’ jacket causes a stir

First lady’s ‘I don’t care’ jacket causes a stir

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — First lady Melania Trump boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents wearing a jacket that read "I really don’t care, do u?"The green hooded spring military jacket has the words written g...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

DALLAS — The New York Islanders have hired Barry Trotz as their new head coach. President of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello announced the move Thursday at the NHL draft, two weeks after Trotz won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals and thr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man found dead in Hillsborough Bay had a big fan in the cat world

Man found dead in Hillsborough Bay had a big fan in the cat world

TAMPA — To his friends and neighbors at Tampa Baptist Manor, Norman Lester Porterfield was the man who fed and spoiled Lucky, the scruffy stray calico cat in the back yard. But the Tampa Police Department says he’s also the man they found dead in Hil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman salutes survivors in Norris Trophy acceptance speech

Lightning’s Victor Hedman salutes survivors in Norris Trophy acceptance speech

The victims and survivors of three tragedies — the mass shootings in Las Vegas and at Parkland Stoneman Douglas High School, and the bus accident that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team — were a big part of Wedne...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The all-time NBA draft — the best pick from every slot

The all-time NBA draft — the best pick from every slot

There’s a definitive answer every year to the question of who is No. 1 in the NBA draft. But who is the No. 1 pick of all No. 1 draft picks ever? Or No. 1 among the list of No. 2 draft picks? Those are questions that have no definitive answer, except...
Updated: 2 hours ago
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Updated: 3 hours ago
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Updated: 3 hours ago