OSWEGO — The “Big Band Sound” of the Oswego County Summer Stage Band, under the direction of Stan Gosek, returns to Breitbeck Park at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. This performance will honor the legacy of Hugh Burritt for his lifelong musical contributions to the “Jazz/Big Band” traditions of Oswego.
The concert is free to the public and is co-sponsored by the city of Oswego, through the Department of Recreation, and the Recording Companies of America, through the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). The grant for these funds was applied for by the Musician’s Union of Oswego County local 267-441, Annette Hulbert, president.
The Oswego tradition of Summer Band Concerts began 85 years ago in the summer of 1935 when Weldon Grose and the City Band performed in the original City Hall/Post Office plaza at the end of West Oneida Street. This was, in fact, the premier of Oswego’s original Summer Concert Series. Then in 1983, the traditional concert schedule was expanded to include a Jazz Big Band under the direction of Hugh Burritt.
Burritt began his teaching career in the Oswego City School District during the 1960’s and subsequently became director of Jazz Studies at SUNY Oswego, where he established the critically acclaimed Solid State Jazz Ensemble. His tenure at Oswego lasted 25 years, culminating in his service as department chair prior to his retirement in 1989.
The Summer Stage Band’s repertoire runs the gamut of great jazz band literature from the Swing, Bebop, Latin Jazz and Jazz Rock traditions. It, in turn, serves as a showcase for the talents of some of the finest jazz/big band musicians in the region. Featured soloists in Wednesday’s performance will include Trevor Jorgenson of Oswego, Russ Partrick of Mexico, Redd Swindells of Oswego, Steve Chirello of Fulton, Joe Cortini Jr. Fulton, Pete Sanborn of Baldwinsville and Matt Vacanti of Baldwinsville.
Big Band classics for the performance will include Glenn Miller’s “String of Pearls” and “In The Mood,” Benny Goodman’s “Stompin’ At The Savoy,” Count Basie’s “Two O’Clock Jump,” Wayne Bergeron’s “America,” Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” and a Stan Gosek original composition “Practice This” which was written for Burritt’s retirement celebration in 1989. Wednesday’s performance will also include an array of vocal features by Steve Chirello and T. J. Bandla.
Audience members are invited to take lawn chairs and blankets. In case of inclement weather, the performance will be held in the Breitbeck Park pavilion.