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Big Band Dance in Bella Vista - Adriana(11)

by Adriana Joyce
(Bella Vista, AR)

Where in Arkansas can you find three hours of big band music, dancing, and a $100 raffle, plus a free dance lesson? Why, the Bella Vista Big Band Dance! The Bella Vista Big Band Veteran’s Day Dance was held at Riordan Hall on the evening of Saturday, November 12th. There was a free dance lesson at 7:00 and the dance began at 7:30 and continued until 10:30 with a $100 raffle at 9:30. Half-way through, the dance instructor and two other couples performed to three songs.

The dance instructor, Jerry Kendrick, was invited by the band leader and has led a lesson before every Big Band Dance for the past five years. His favorite part of the dance is watching people dance and seeing some of them catch on.

The Bella Vista Big Band played for the full three hours with only one break for the dance performance. The band’s vocalist is Caitlyn Walsh, who played the saxophone between her solos. Caitlyn is a librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library and has been in the band since she was fifteen. She took saxophone lessons as a girl but taught herself to sing simply because she loved it. In the time she has been a member of the Bella Vista Big Band, they’ve performed many places, including the Arkansas Ball during the Clinton Inauguration. She enjoys singing but her favorite part is watching the dancers.

The band leader, Charlie Danielson, said that the whole band really enjoys performing at Riordan Hall but it is a very expensive location given the current turnout and the distance some members have to drive for the small amount of money they earn. The dances have started attracting younger people but the Band would like to see a larger turnout and greater variety of ages.
It was a fun evening for all, including several teenagers who can’t wait until next time! The Bella Vista Big Band will perform again at Riordan Hall on February 11th, 2012. See you there!

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