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The Vermont Jazz Center Presents: The Annual Big Band Gala– A Tribute to the Swing Era

Press Release
Contact Eugene Uman, Vermont Jazz Center, 802 254 9088,

Short Summary
Who: The VJC Big Band under the direction of Rob Freeberg with guest vocalists Rebecca Holtz and Rob Fletcher. Scott Mullett is guest soloist on clarinet and tenor saxophone.
What: Jazz Standards, Great American Songbook. Music from the 30s, 40s and 50s
When: Friday, December 5th at 8:00 PM
Where: The Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, #222, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Tickets available: online at, at 802-254-9088 x1, or at In the Moment Records in downtown Brattleboro.

The Vermont Jazz Center will present its annual big band swing gala on Friday, December 5th at 8:00 PM. This year’s event celebrates the swing music of the 30s, 40s and 50s, when big band jazz served as North America’s popular music and provided the pulse for social dancing. The 17 piece Vermont Jazz Center Big Band will be joined by Rebecca Holtz and Rob Fletcher, two exquisite singers with strong affinities to Swing. For one exceptional evening, their voices will ride on the waves of the authentic big band sound, bringing to life the allure of glitter and fantasy that characterized the musical diversion we still cherish.

The VJC big band is directed by trumpeter Rob Freeberg and features guest soloist, Scott Mullett on tenor saxophone and clarinet. Rob Freeberg was Director of Bands at New Rochelle High School, led his own professional big band as well as a community big band in Westchester County, received awards from the New York State School Music Association, and conducted high school performances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. He currently directs the VJC Sextet and is the jazz instructor at The Putney School. Scott Mullett was Musical Director for Royal Caribbean cruise Lines and saxophonist for the legendary big bands of Woody Herman and Artie Shaw. He is the founder and musical director of the Keene Jazz Orchestra and teaches at Keene State College.

The VJC Big Band will be performing original arrangements from the libraries of the big bands of: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Artie Shaw, Jimmie Lunceford, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry James, Glenn Miller, and Cab Calloway. The music is tailored for dancing and will include tempos perfect for a myriad of dance steps including the Fox Trot, Two Step, Charleston and even the Cha Cha. Shine your shoes, and come prepared to dance to the powerful force of a live band performing the sounds of your favorite big band classics.

Vocalist Rob Fletcher is a big fan of Frank Sinatra. He’ll be performing Ol’ Blue Eye’s hits I’ve Got You Under My Skin and The Last Dance; he’ll also play the part of Cab Calloway in Minnie the Moocher. Rebecca Holtz will sing It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), Goody Goody and Sunny Side of the Street. The two vocalists will join forces on Moonlight in Vermont and I Won’t Dance. The remainder of the evening will be a tour de force of instrumental swingers such as Jumpin’ at the Woodside, Begin the Beguine, Two O’Clock Jump, Don’t Be That Way and Manteca. Soloist, Scott Mullett will be playing the actual transcriptions of Benny Goodman’s clarinet improvisations.

The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band is a professional community band that comes together under the auspices of the VJC to rehearse and take on big band projects. Last year’s guest artist was vocalist, Kevin Mahogany, and the year before that was a tribute to the Mambo Kings with timbalero Eguie Castrillo. The money raised from the annual big band gala helps fill the coffers for the VJC scholarship fund and will assist in complementing the $10,000 matching funds so generously donated by the Thompson Trust. The orchestra is comprised of trumpeters Charlie Schneeweis, Steve Sonntag, Rick Anderson and Jun Ida; trombonists Anna Johnson, Vicki Moore, Bob Thies, Rob Skrocki; saxophonists Scott Mullett, Bob Stabach, Larry Tutt, Bill Ballard, Sherm Fox; the rhythm section is Wayne Roberts (bass), Steve Rice (drums) and Eugene Uman (piano) with guest percussionist Julian Gerstin (congas).

This concert was made possible due to the organizational skills and financial generosity of Band Manager Sherm Fox and Musical Director Rob Freeberg. The concert is sponsored by VJC friends, Dianne Gallo, Steve Lieberman and Henry Uman. Special thanks go out the Vermont Arts Council, WVPR and New England Public Radio.

Admission includes a delicious desert buffet thanks to generous donations from Amy’s Bakery Arts, Jasmine Bakery, Vermont Country Deli, and the Brattleboro Food Coop. Tickets are $25 plus for general admission, $30 plus for reservations that include reserved seating, and students with valid ID are $5.00 less. For local high school students, there is a special fund available to subsidize admission. Purchase tickets online at, at In the Moment, downtown Brattleboro, or call the VJC ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1 (a $1 surcharge per ticket will be charged for all tickets purchased with a credit card). Tickets can also be purchased at the door. This concert is handicapped accessible, but please call in advance (802 – 254 – 9088) if someone in your party will require the use of an elevator. Purchase your tickets early. It is anticipated that this concert will sell out quickly. Dance the night away at the Vermont Jazz Center’s tribute to Swing on Friday, December 5th at 8:00 PM.