I love singing with Jeff McDonald's "Swingmania" big band. I love singing the show tunes, the dance tunes, the American Songbook tunes - I love them all the same. Standing on the stage in my evening gown, singing my heart out with all that sound wrapping me up in its embrace is indescribably delicious. Sometimes the band and I start building on each other's energy and the music just takes off; it's like catching a wave back home in Hawai'i - all of a sudden you're carried away into a place where everyone is lost in the excitement of the moment.
Between tunes is almost as much fun. The players in the band kid around with each other just quietly enough that the audience can't hear us. They say some crazy funny stuff, most of which shouldn't be repeated in polite company. The fact that they are usually in tuxedos just adds to the flavor.
We've played all over northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, primarily in Toledo and Detroit, but we've hit some truly out of the way little towns. Places like Fort Defiance, Delphos, Put-In-Bay, Lakeside, and Southgate have welcomed us into their homey, midwestern worlds. In the summertime, they sit out under the big old trees in their parks in their folding lawn chairs as they soak up the sweet music. In the colder months, we've played in their churches and in the hush of their old theatres. You just can't beat that.
I get especially happy when I see kids who have rarely, if ever, heard this music with big smiles on their faces dancing enthusiastically to rhythms that are new to them. They come up to me after the show and tell me how "awesome" our music is. The beat goes on.