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Swing dances at the Englert

BY HANNA ROSMAN | MARCH 11, 2010 7:30 AM

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Bud Forrest, the creator and producer of In The Mood, believes that the big-band sound of the 1940s is still a portrayal of the American spirit.

“It is as patriotic now as it was back then,” he contends. “[Big-band] music affects the heart and soul of Americans.”

In The Mood, a big-band musical, will be performed at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission ranges from $29 to $35. The show includes songs by, or made popular by, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, the Andrews Sisters, and Artie Shaw.

The company consists of 19 members, including dancers, singers, and the String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra. The group intends to create a show that is as close as possible to the shows of the 1940s.

Those involved in the Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive, a project that recognizes those who fought in World War II, have designated In The Mood as a national event. Keep the Spirit’s stated mission is to re-energize the U.S. international leadership and recognize those who worked toward the peace and prosperity of the country.

The musical has been on the road for 16 years, and the continual traveling takes a bit of a toll on the members.

“The hardest thing we have to remember is the hotel-room number every night,” Forrest said.

Trombone player Arthur Swanson is in his fourth year of touring with In The Mood. The group plays big-band music, and the 62-year-old never gets tired of playing it.

“Because it keeps moving, I don’t get tired of it,” he said.

Not only does he play trombone, he also works as road manager.

“I try to get the group from one place to another on time,” Swanson said. “It usually works out just fine.”

The Arizona native has played trombone for 50 years; he was originally classical trained, and before joining In The Mood, he played in a Navy band in Washington, D.C. He met the members of In The Mood there.

Forrest is adamant about traveling and sharing big-band music with many people. He prefers performing in smaller towns, as opposed to larger ones, because of the atmosphere.

Iowa City, as it turns out, is only one of many places in which In The Mood has not yet performed.

“There are so many other communities we haven’t reached yet,” Forrest said. “There is always next year.”


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