Concert to recall Big Band era's hits



Rob Nordan doesn’t get to play or conduct a lot of jazz on a regular basis.

“I usually do a lot more with classical music. Growing up, I did more jazz,” said Nordan, who is the director of bands at Augusta Christian Schools, the associate minister of music at West Acres Baptist Church and the founder and developer of the Columbia County Orchestra Association.

On Feb. 11, however, Nordan will lead a group of 19 musicians in tunes from the Big Band era. The Augusta Amusements Big Band will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.

“The music in this concert will be classic big bands of the 1930s and 1940s,” said Nordan. “We will play Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw.”

The musicians making up the Augusta Amusements Big Band come from across Augusta’s music community. They include area school band directors, professional musicians and music teachers.

The Augusta Amusements Big Band is a throwback to the original band.

Frank Miller and his associates operated several theaters in Augusta in the 1930s and 1940s, including the Imperial, Rialto, Dreamland and Miller.

“The Augusta Amuse­ments business practice was for an orchestra that would be resident and play for shows that would travel through town,” said Nordan.

Several years ago, Mike Deas, of the current Augusta Amusements, found the original bandstands from the first band. These will be used in Saturday’s concert.

Nordan said the band he is directing was brought together to whet Augusta’s appetite for big band music prior to the March 17 concert of the Glenn Miller Band; however, there could be other dates the Augusta Amusements Big Band will play.

Nordan said there has been a resurgence in interest in ballroom dance, and younger generations have become interested in the music of the 1930s and 1940s.

He believes the audience will cross generational lines.

Tickets are $20 and $25, and attendees are encouraged to wear clothing from the 1930s and 1940s and walk the red carpet.

For more information, call (706) 726-0366 or see