Swing is not dead. At least not according to music-loving students at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.
And the community will get the chance to see and hear some of that passion for the genre next month when the group hosts its first Swingtown Dinner Dance.
The high school Jazz Ensemble will be the featured group at the event, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
High school instrumental director Patrick McNamee, who came up with the idea, will lead an adult combo that will perform while the ensemble is on break. That group includes Waynesboro Area Middle School band director Phil Thorpe.
McNamee said he was looking for a fundraiser idea that was different “than selling something.”
Then, it hit him that he could sell the talent of his musicians. And the Swingtown Dinner Dance was born.
Since then, the Jazz Ensemble has been working hard, preparing about 30 songs for the event, which will raise money for the music department, according to one of the leaders of the group.
“We thought it was a pretty cool idea,” said Natalie Smith, who plays saxophone and flute in the group. “It’s a lot of work, but we think it will pay off in the end.”
Smith, a senior who recently performed with a national band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, said it’s great for the students to perform outside of their normal concerts and “Christmas gigs.”
Smith said the group has been practicing the songs off and on since August.
“We’re excited to see it come together and to see the hard work pay off,” she said.
Other members of the school band will be serving as waiters and waitresses, so the fundraiser is a team effort.
“It’s great when we get to do something like this for the community,” said Smith, who plans to study music in college, hopefully at Ohio State University.
The menu includes stuffed chicken breasts, salad, vegetables and dessert.
McNamee said instructors will be on hand to give free swing dance lessons.
“The kids are doing the work and I hope the kids will enjoy it,” McNamee said. “One thing I can tell you is that I’m sure it will sound good.”
If you go
What: Swingtown Dinner Dance fundraiser
When: Feb. 1, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School cafeteria
Tickets: Tickets cost $30 per person or $50 a couple. Checks should be made payable to WASBA. Call the high school band office at ext. 1231 for tickets or information.