GCBB Newsletter Nov 13 - Gateway City Big Band
Volume XV, No. 1, November 2013
Gateway City Big Band
Saturday, June 28, 2014. Come join us
at the Kirkwood Area Arts Council's "Making Music" concert series from 7:00-9:00 at
Kirkwood Park (Geyer and Adams Roads)
in the Kirkwood Lions Amphitheater. It's
FREE and food is available for purchase.
The Gateway City Big Band, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, provides advanced jazz
education and performance opportunities
for participating musicians. Through its
performances, it strives to promote public
awareness of the “big band” style of muYour Opinion Please!
sic, to encourage and support music education at the secondary school level, and Itʼs incredible that the Gateway City Big
to assist other non-profit groups with fund- Band has survived and thrived since it
first began in 1966, over 47 years ago!
A hallmark of longevity is the ability to
change as our society changes. We all
can think of many businesses, social organizations, and institutions that are no
longer around because they didnʼt adapt
as times changed. We in the GCBB love
what we do, so itʼs important that we
Gateway City Big Band Schedule
Consult our website at:
Friday, January 17, 2014 at the historic
Casa Loma Ballroom (3354 Iowa in South
St. Louis) 8 to 11 PM. Entry fee is $10
and free dance lessons are offered from
7:15-8:00. Call 314-664-8000 for information or to reserve a table.
So that you may
help us, we have
set up an email
address specifically for your opinions and suggestions
the GCBBʼs direction,
performances, choice of arrangements, or whatever youʼd like to tell us. The address is:
[email protected] .
Friday, February 14, 2014. The Hannibal
Regional Hospital Foundation invites you
to attend the "Sweetheart Swing", an evening to benefit the Cardiology Services Patient Assistance Fund. Doors open at 6:00
and we start playing at 7:30 at the Quality
Inn & Suites on Hwy. 36 west of Hannibal.
Reservations required - Call 573-629-3577
Saturday, March 22, 2014. The Eppinger
Foundation invites you to the American
Legion Hall in Columbia, IL to hear us play
from 7-9 pm. Itʼs FREE! More information I encourage you to email us; help us understand how you view us, and give us
in our next issue.
Continued on Page 2
President's Message (cont.)
downtown store that had a kitchen. On the
ideas about where you think we could im- wall was a Philco radio that brought in
prove. Among the things weʼd like to hear: broadcasts of the big bands from all over
• How could we improve our concerts, dances, and other perform- At the age of eight or nine, he was able to
get a trumpet from his neighborhood asso• How do you feel about the tunes ciation. He learned a few tunes by ear, but
and arrangements we play, and apparently wasnʼt all that interested behow would you improve our reper- cause he pawned it to get money to go to
the school picnic. His idols were Harry
• What in your mind distinguishes the James and Benny Goodman. Whenever
GCBB from other bands you hear? he heard music, Joe always listened for
What do we do right? What should and paid attention to good tone.
• Weʼd also like for you to mention He went to many dances while he was in
anything else that might be helpful. school and as a young adult went to Tune
How is our web site? Do you like Town, the Castle Ballroom, the Casa Loma
the way we dress at events? Can Ballroom, Club Riviera and Club Plantayou hear the band well at perform- tion. Joe knew the maitre dʼ at the Plantaances?
tion and many times got a ringside table.
He remembers hearing the Jeter-Pillars
Tell us ANYTHING you think we should orchestra. He also remembers Nat “King”
know. By doing so you will help us tre- Cole playing a piano that was on wheels
and going around to the various tables takThe email address again is: GCBB- ing requests.
Before he went into military service, Joe
worked for an ad agency that booked
bands and movies of bands. He remembered the 1942 film “Syncopation” that has
Benny Goodman, Harry James, Jack
Jenny, Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Alvino
Rey and Joe Venuti. Gene Krupa was a
great idol and Joe remembered being annoyed that the musicians appeared in only
the last five minutes of the film.
Joe Renda Retires From the
One of our “civilian” Gateway City Big
Band board members, Joe Renda, is retiring from the board. Joe will be 90 on December 27 and is just beginning to wind
down his passion for dancing to the music
of the swing era.
Joe was born in 1923 and always had a Joe was in the army in World War II. He
passion for good music. He described his was in New York in 1945 before shipping
neighborhood as being a little on the out and danced in all the major ballrooms.
“rough side.” Joe remembers his fatherʼs
Continued on Page 3
Joe Renda (cont.)
While there he met Jimmy Dorsey. Following the war, Joe
worked for Universal
Motion Pictures, and
was a businessman,
owning a filling station
and Dairy Queen restaurants.
worked for McDonnell
See Us In Color!
Wouldnʼt you like to see us in beautiful
color photographs?? If youʼre still receiving the Quarter Notes by mail, consider
switching to delivery by email so the photographs of Gateway members and gigs
are clear and in color. You wonʼt be sorry!
To switch to email, please contact Karen
Sharp at [email protected]
Action Shots of Band Members
Joe met his wife Eva in
1946. Their first date
was at the Plantation.
They were married in
September 1948 and had two children.
They have shared a passion for music and
dance and continue to do so today. They
won a national swing dance competition in
In an article in the St. Louis Beacon on
May 3, 2012, Joe and Eva “say that their
version of swing dance is not the same as
the dancing done by younger dancers today.” Joe said that quite a few people
watch them dance at the Casa Loma. According to the Beacon article, “Unfortunately, Joe says that the number of people
from his era who come out dancing shrinks
every year, just as the grand ballrooms of
their time have folded and left just one
Joe has been on the Gateway City Big
Band board for 15 years. He still is on the
board of The Dance Club, where he
booked bands for many years.
Our best wishes and much thanks go to
Joe and Eva for their passion and service
to the Gateway City Big Band.
Gateway City Big Band, Inc.
c/o Karen Sharp
Chesterfield, MO 63017
The Quarter Notes is the official
publication of the Gateway City Big
Band, Inc., a non-profit organization. It is published quarterly in November,
February, May and August.
Rick Sharp (President)
Karen Sharp (Secretary)
For changes, additions or cancellations to
the Quarter Notes email list, contact Karen
Sharp by phone: 314-542-9276 or email:
Jerry Wood (Business Manager)
Stan Minor (Music Director)
For comments, additions or corrections to
the Quarter Notes, contact Dennis
Owsley by email: [email protected]
To book the band, obtain band photos or
other information, contact our Business
Manager, Jerry Wood by phone: 314739-4918
Dennis Owsley (Newsletter Editor)