Riverside is swingin’ again

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By Courtney Grabendike

Members of the Citrus Swing Orchestra put on a free show at the Riverside Plaza. (Citrus Swing Orchestra)

By Courtney Grabendike

The year was 1935, and swing jazz was making its debut all across the nation.

Swing music acted as an emotional release for many as the United States was entering World War II.

Flash forward 73 years, and swing music is no longer one of the dominant forms of popular American music.

But in Riverside, that is changing.

The Citrus Swing Orchestra is the up-and-coming premier swing band of Southern California.

The orchestra is composed of an 18-piece ensemble, including everything from saxophone, to guitar and percussion.

The orchestra plays the music of Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller and many more.

While swing is their dominant genre of music, the orchestra also plays big band hits, Latin rhythms and dance music.

Under the direction of conductor Gary Goodwin, the orchestra prides itself on its versatility as well as diversity.

Members of the orchestra come from all over and different walks of life.

Some are retired music professionals, while others are retired teachers.

As a community-based non-profit organization and performing ensemble of the Moreno Valley Community Band Association, the Orchestra has a 501(c)(3) charitable tax exemption.

Performance fees go directly to support music education and appreciation in the Inland Empire.

They also provide free public concerts by both the Orchestra and Rancho Belago Wind Symphony, foster exposure and appreciation of swing and big band music, and support the music education and performance efforts of the entire Moreno Valley Community Band Association.

The year is now 2008, and the United States is in the midst of another crisis.

Maybe swing music can come full circle and once again provide a fun and entertaining escape from reality.

The Orchestra will play free shows at the Riverside Plaza on Sept. 27 and Dec 6.

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