Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern
This Wednesday, August 6 at the Judge Morley Pavilion at 7 p.m., Don Burns Orchestra will take the stage! This group will serenade you with their big band sound making for a delightful summer evening at the Wick Recreation Area!
Before their performance, I had the opportunity to speak with Don Burns to get a little background on Don Burns Orchestra!
ER: What is the history of Don Burns Orchestra?
DB: On March 1, 1967, over 30 years ago, the Don Burns Orchestra was formed to perform, promote, and sustain the “great music of the Big Band” era. Originally starting with only 11 pieces, it wasn’t long before the band had grown to its present size. Within the first year the band was performing at dances throughout the tri-county area. Musically, the band was quite good but something seemed to be missing; so more choreography, more originals music and a female voacalist were added. The band got better and better as time went on and we even started doing several “live” radio broadcasts. In the early nineties, we added a new male and female vocalist, a vocal team, and with their talents, we could really increase our versatility. During 1996, we expanded even more by adding our vocal quartet, the Sunrise Serenaders, enabling us to bring the “complete” musical package to the public. Without the dedication and talent of each member of the band, none of this would have been possilbe. So settle back or put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the “great music and showmanship” that only a “truly” Big Band can provide.
DB: The Don Burns Orchestra is comprised of nineteen of some of the best, talented, musical people around with a dedication you wouldn’t believe. My people have been with me from three years to forty-six years. Between you and me, I’ve been very blessed with such great people. We have five saxes, four trombones, four trumpets, guitar, bass, piano, drums and a male / female singers. We also have a vocal group, the Sunrise Serenaders that sang with Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.
ER: What type of music does Don Burns Orchestra perform?
DB: We play original music from the famous big band era. We also perform a lot of Glenn Miller and music through the nineties, Swing, Latin, and Ballads.
ER: Where can we expect to see Don Burns Orchestra after Live! at the Morley?
DB: You can see us Thursday, August 14 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at a free concert in Ramsey Park on Ohio Ave in McDonald, OH. Also we are performing at Cascade Ballroom on Washington Street in New Castle, PA. This is on Friday, September 5 at the three hour Big Band Dance from 8 – 11 p.m. It is $10.00 per person.
ER: What are your feelings about playing in Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley?
DB: You can’t find a nicer place; beautiful performance stage and great park people to work with. We have had the pleasure of performing there almost every year for 46 years and I am very thankful for the opportunity to do so. The Judge Morley Pavilion is the premier place in Youngstown.
Thank you Don! We are so grateful for the Don Burns Orchestra’s dedication to the MetroParks and cannot wait to hear the group’s big band sound this week!
For a complete list of concerts during the MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley, visit millcreekmetroparks.org.