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Start the holidays off on the right note

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By Kirsten Laskey

What better way to start off the holiday season than dancing and listening to some classic tunes?

The Gordons’ Concerts, the Los Alamos MainStreet and the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation will present the Los Alamos Big Band from 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Fuller Lodge.  The concert is part of the WinterFest festivities, which be held Friday through Sunday.

While the band will play the big band standards, they will also play the big band version of holiday songs.

 “We chose them because we felt after a fun night of WinterFesting that it will be a lot of fun to have Christmas songs,” concert organizer Russ Gordon said.

Rather than feature a rock n’ roll band, “We thought the big band would be nice and pleasant for all ages. And you’re welcome to sing along,” he added.

Besides the music, attendees  will be treated to coffee, hot chocolate and cookies from the Coffeehouse Café.

Gordon said he is looking forward to this particular concert.

“I enjoy doing concerts, period,” he said. “And especially at WinterFest because it is a joyous occasion. Everybody is in a good mood; everybody knows the songs. You can dance. Anytime people like to celebrate, I like to be there.”

The Los Alamos Big Band, according to its Web site, has been playing at dances in Northern New Mexico since 1984.

It is under the direction of Jan McDonald, who was the band director at Los Alamos High School for many years.

Dick Souder founded the 16 instrument 1940s Glen Miller-style swing band. When Souder began working in Los Alamos, he teamed up with McDonald and later Ralph Bennorth to organize a band.

The Los Alamos Big Band has done everything from performing at weddings to appearing in conventions.

Gordon recognizes several sponsors that allowed the band to appear at Fuller Lodge. These sponsors are Del Norte Credit Union, Los Alamos National Bank and the Coffeehouse Café.