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The Gateway City Big Band is a 17-piece band with two vocalists that has been entertaining audiences in the St. Louis area and beyond since 1966. As a non-profit organization, the band plays for charitable and civic events and is also available for private functions. Its excess funds are used to support worthy school music programs and young musicians. The band rehearses weekly from September through June and its diverse library includes authentic charts stretching from the big band era to more recent styles and artists.
Known for its fine musicianship, great vocalists and soloists, and musical variety, the band is the feature attraction at concerts throughout the region. It also is equally at home performing for private events, ballroom dancers, and specialty events.
The band has made a number of recordings, most recently “50 Years & Counting!” in its 50th year of making music, as well as "Swingin' For 40 Years" to celebrate its 40th Anniversary and "Live at the Casa Loma", made up of live recordings from the St. Louis Casa Loma Ballroom. Other recordings include "Dedication", dedicated to band supporter "Cactus" Charlie Menees and former leader Jim Bolen, and "Let's Go Dancing" which focuses on a variety of dance styles and tempos.
The Gateway City Big Band has performed in some of St. Louis' premier music and dance venues, including the historic Fox Theatre, Khorissan Room at the Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis Casa Loma Ballroom and Missouri Botanical Gardens, and was a featured guest at the International Glenn Miller Festival in Clarinda, Iowa.
Gateway City Big Band Mission Statement
The Gateway City Big Band, Inc., a non-profit 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 music, to encourage and support music education at the secondary school level, and to assist other non-profit groups with fundraising.
Board of Directors
Rick Sharp – President & Treasurer (Trumpet section leader)
Karen Sharp – Secretary (Trombone section leader)
John Chruma – Rhythm section leader
Paul Shanker – Sax section leader