On Friday theyll perform at Sip, Swing and Support for our Community, a benefit for Twin County United Way at Lindsay Creek Vineyards in Lewiston.
The 18-piece swing band began in 1999, said founder Doug McIntosh, but it has its roots in Gentlemen of Note, a local swing band that was popular during the 1960s. During that time, there was a strong jazz music presence in the valley and the group would play 10 to 15 times a year. McIntosh joined them occasionally; he filled in on trumpet for the first time when he was in junior high. Over time, however, the bands popularity faded and its numbers dwindled.
Then in 1999, McIntosh received a collection of sheet music that had belonged to Kenny Howell, owner of Howells Music Center in Lewiston. With the new resource, McIntosh started the band back up using both former members of Gentlemen of Note and new members, largely recruited through local music teachers. The band plays a couple times a year, typically for community events or benefits.
While its sound and songs may be familiar to swing aficionados, the band has its fair share of unusual characteristics, including the ever-changing lineup of its members.
I dont think Ive ever played a gig with the same people, McIntosh said.
With 18 spots to fill and no ones livelihood at stake, its inevitable that even the regulars have missed a performance or more over the past 16 years. So far, thats not been a problem. Inevitably someone knows someone who has both the musical chops and inclination to play. Fridays show will include musicians from Moscow, Coeur dAlene and Seattle.
Besides, the revolving members are part of the fun, McIntosh said, noting the network of musicians has turned up some surprising talent with an impressive past, including those who have played in nationally recognized orchestras and touring groups.
The talent thats there is just amazing, McIntosh said.
And it has to be, because the musicians have to show up ready to play -- thats another of the bands secrets.
In the last 10 years, we havent really had a rehearsal, McIntosh said.
That means band members have to read the music thats put in front of them, which McIntosh selects based on who is playing. The average show includes jazz standards like In the Mood and String of Pearls, along with newer songs. With sheet music for more than 500 songs, there are plenty of options.
So when McIntosh, co-owner of Lindsay Creek Vineyards, was asked to be an honorary co-chair for the United Ways campaign this year with his wife, Brenda, and brother Art McIntosh and his wife, Michelle, pairing swing music and wine seemed only natural.
The event includes light hors doeuvres, wine and dancing, with the Swing Notes playing from 7 to 9 p.m. and a DJ stepping in until 11 p.m.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Sip, Swing and Support for our Community:
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Lindsay Creek Vineyards, 3107 Powers Ave., Lewiston
COST: $35/person, must be 21 or older, ticket includes one complimentary drink. Tickets are available at Twin County United Way or Lindsay Creek Vineyards or online at www.tcuw.org/sip-swing-and-support-for-our-community/