General Assembly Big Band announces summer schedule

May 15, 2024

The General Assembly Big Band has announced its summer performance schedule. The band’s season will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 24 with A Night of Jazz concert at Shelby High School Auditorium. The evening will include performances from the Shelby High School Jazz Band and the Hart High School Jazz Band. Admission is $5 per person, $20 for families of five and free for students.

Other summer shows include:

  • Friday, June 21, Pentwater Village Green, 7 p.m.
  • Monday, July 1, Ludington Waterfront Park, 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 1, Pamona Park Pavilion, Fruitport, 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, Wenger Pavilion, Baldwin, 7 p.m.

The General Assembly Big Band was formed by a collection of west Michigan musicians looking for an opportunity to perform big band jazz. The name General Assembly was chosen to reflect the wide variety of the musician’s backgrounds. Although several of the band members were professional music educators, most of them earned their living in a wide variety of other vocations.

The band was initially formed and directed by Barney Barnette of Branch, in the 1960s. After Barnett’s retirement from the band in the 1970s, former Mason County Central music director and trombonist Tom Sheppardson took over as leader until his passing in 2020. Believing that preserving live big band music is important to the culture of west Michigan, the band transformed itself into a nonprofit performing arts organization in February of 2020. The organization is now a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt corporation and governed by a five-member board of directors. The band is currently under the leadership of president and trumpet soloist Richard Granger, retired music director of Shelby Public Schools, along with music director and trombonist Pat Parish, former director of music for Oxford Community Schools and Ashely Community Schools.


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