THE LITTLE BIG BAND WAS ONCE THE ‘LITTLE BITTY BAND’!
They will be appearing at RC’s, Monday, August 8.
By Dwight Barrett, founding member
The Little Big Band is presenting the “Best of the Big Bands” Monday, August 8th at RC’s . 330 E.135 St., in Martin City.
The 18 piece LBB presents four or five concerts per year and is well attended by folks who enjoy the sounds of the big bands.
The band started over 30 years ago when a few local friends who lived in Round Hill in Overland Park went out to dinner while our wives were playing bridge. A discussion took place about music and it was determined that a few of us played in bands in high school and beyond. Thus, it started with five folks who “used” to be musicians and decided to start playing again.
The original crew was John Vivona, our leader who played trumpet professionally and was in the U.S.Army Band; trombonist Karl Yehle, whose father owned a music store and was a military band director; trumpeter Harvey McCray, who also played the flugelhorn; Dick Ogren (who actually took lessons) on reeds; “Butch” Marlo, our specialized triangle player, and me, a drummer who hadn’t played since high school. Those were the starting members of today’s Little Big Band…none of who are currently members. Larry Leonard and Lewis Roht joined the original band after a few years and it began to grow.
“I originally found some music in my old files and we used that as a starting point.”, said the band’s leader Vivona. We played at local restaurants in front of family, friends and neighbors and at retirement homes and other facilities…always for free. Our practice sessions were in basements, family rooms and even in churches. We enjoyed watching our kids and grandkids dance to music they didn’t know…but seemed to have fun.
The band began to grow and take on new members. As this happened, many of the original members gradually decided to just listen…not play. Roht took over as the leader and began to expand the music and the musicians to the point today that it is truly a Little Big Band.
I can say as one of the original members that we had a great time and enjoyed every hour…even the practice time.
If you haven’t seen the LBB, and if you like the big band sound, you will enjoy this upcoming concert upstairs at RC’s. Make plans to attend by making your reservations at: email@example.com. A buffet dinner is served from 5:00 to 6:30 and the music begins at 6:45. Cost is $20 per person.