SMILE and tap your feet to the driving beat of The Stardusters! For more than twenty years, The Stardusters have been entertaining audiences all over the Charlotte Metro and surrounding area. Why are we so popular? Because, no matter your age, the bright horns and smooth vocals of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey, and many others, just makes you want to get up and dance!
If you’d like to book The Stardusters, we are available for dances, parties, weddings or concerts. Whether you need to Rumba, Samba, Tango, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Waltz--or if you don’t dance at all and just want to tap your toes to some fantastic music--The Stardusters can tailor our performance to your needs! Just call our business manager, Ken Todd at (704) 964-4000, or click on the “Contact Us” button at the top of this page.
The Grind Again. Finally!!
How long has it been?
Last week was a busy one. The Stardusters played three gigs in a space of ten days. Given our schedule during Covid, this was like trying to put out three fires with one hose!
Five years ago, a musician might have taken a busy week for granted. Or, more likely, he or she might have even dreaded it; complained about the lack of sleep, the hurried drives to get to rehearsal, the inevitable traffic jam when already late for the gig. There might have been aggravation at a missed note, or a flubbed solo. All those things that come with the pressure of preparing for and playing music in front of people. But what Covid taught us was that last week was not ordinary, nor was it inconvenient. It was rare.
During Covid, most of us still played our horns, our keyboards, our guitars and our drums. We did so alone, up in our practice rooms, our bedrooms, even in bathrooms or closets or wherever the other people in the house deemed appropriate for missed notes, squeaks, bad intonation, missed entries, slower tempos (to get the notes right on unfamiliar music) and the unavoidable cursing, complaining, head shaking and groaning that comes with working on new music, new drills, new mouthpieces, new reeds or just a new version of the minor scale (there are endless versions of the minor scale and I tried to learn them during Covid; I have already forgotten them). The point is that musicians found themselves with the luxury of time to work on their craft.
But they lacked a reason to work on it. Before long, practice began to drift. Sometimes I just stared at music, or even at the horn. Or just turned on the TV or the computer and played a game. After all, what is the point of practice if no one is going to hear the finished product?
Big Bands were popular a really long time ago. We all know this. But the music was played in the 30s, 40s and 50s didn't die any more than the music of Beethoven, Mozart or Bach died with the composer. Glen Miller is still played every day on Pandora. So is Charlie Parker. Elvis isn't dead, he's just in a different format. The thing all of those things I just mentioned have in common, is that they are still alive because of one thing and one thing only: the audience.
Music is a gift that it is given to eternity, released into the air by thousands of musicians over years, decades and centuries. But it is always a three part production. There is a composer. There are musicians. And there are those blessed people who listen.
The Stardusters are one of many bands who are trying to keep the tradition of live music going. Live music is very different from playing songs on You Tube, Pandora or Spotify. It has mistakes, yes. But it has energy created by the interaction of the three critical parts of the music: composition, performance and listening. Without any one of the three, music is no more than an unread novel.
So, last week was not aggravating; it was exhilarating. This might be an exaggeration, but I am the luckiest man in the world. On three occasions last week, I had to work for nine hours, jump in my car and drive through traffic for a half-hour or more, jump out of the car, put on a tuxedo in five minutes, try to remember where my wife packed my bow tie, put the horn together, run to the stage and without warm up or even taking a deep breath, launch into a song. While I played, people talked, laughed, yelled, clapped and did a great deal of things to interrupt me, break my concentration and generally make playing music way harder than it has to be. And, when I finished the two, three or five hour gig, went home, got a handful of hours of sleep and got up and went to work the next morning, I was exhausted! But for the first time in five years, I felt like a musician. And I loved every single minute of it.
If you have the chance to support live music, get out there and do it! And, unless you are at the opera or symphony, don't be afraid to move your feet, talk, laugh, dance and clap. You are the most important part of every musical composition!
And, if you can't get out there, check out these greats Big Band resources!
Glen Miller's "In the Mood" from 1941
Episode of The Ray Anthony Show, "The Story of the Big Band Era"
"Jersey Bounce" by Benny Goodman
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (1942), "Swing Dancing and Lindy Hopping Kids"
February 2023 First ARP Valentines Dance and Belmont Abbey Gala
WOW! The "white tie" dancers at The Pinehurst Hotel two-step to our "Texas Swing Medley"! Your Stardusters entertained the Quadrille Club from nine until midnight with an exhilarating dinner dance.