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Concert will bring back big band sound

The Community Performing Arts Guild on Feb. 7 will take people on a musical trip back to the 1940s, when the romance of the swing era was in full bloom.

The Sounds of Harry James and the Andrews Sisters features trumpeter and band leader Charly Raymond, as well as the Apple Blossoms _ Michele James, Cathy Baudrit and Sharon Reaboi _ who portray Patty, Maxine and LaVerne, the Andrews siblings who were beloved by World War II GIs.

"The show is a big draw, especially for people in Florida," said Michele James, who has been with the show for 11 years. "This music is close to people's hearts."

Besides its nostalgic charm, the music's close, tight harmonies add to the excitement of the big band sound, James said. The trademark style of the Andrews Sisters had influences ranging from Dixieland, swing and, of course, boogie-woogie.

"I have to remind myself sometimes that this music is over 70 years old," James said. "I'm not sure the music from today will be remembered for 70 minutes, let alone 70 years."

The Apple Blossoms oblige Andrews Sisters fans with costume reproductions and musical favorites such as Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

And decades after band leader and trumpeter Harry James made a name in the music world with such favorites as You Made Me Love You and I Don't Want to Walk Without You, Charly Raymond and His Big Band emulate the legendary James style in a performance that pays tribute to the swing sound.

Known for double and triple tonguing on the trumpet, James parlayed his virtuosity into a featured spot in Benny Goodman's band. By 1938, he struck out on his own and formed Harry James and the Music Makers.

James is considered one of the biggest talents to come out of the big band era.

The Community Performing Arts Guild is dedicated to bringing affordable musical entertainment to Hernando County by hosting concerts in the 750-seat sanctuary at Mariner United Methodist Church, at 7079 Mariner Blvd. in Spring Hill.

Shows are at 3 and 7 p.m. (Some tickets were printed with an incorrect date.) Admission is free, but an offering will be taken. Ticket distribution for the Sounds of Harry James and the next CPAG concert, New Odyssey on March 6, will be from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the church. Availability is limited. For information, call 544-1068, 596-6143 or 596-0080.

_ Joy Davis-Platt can be reached at (352) 848-1435. Send e-mail to