The ’40s are back!

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By Kirsten Laskey

At the upcoming Christmas Concert, the Los Alamos Big Band will be reunited with some old friends.

The Mountaineers quartet will once again take the stage with the big band at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church’s parish hall.

In addition to performing songs from the big band era of the 1940s’, the band, along with the quartet, will present “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Birdland” and “Kalamazoo.”

Holiday tunes will be featured, too.

Jan McDonald of the Los Alamos Big Band, said hopefully the bands’ loyal listeners will come to the concert and he encourages college, high school and middle school students to attend as well.

“It will be a fun evening,” he said.

The quartet, which includes Terry and Steve Coggeshall, and Cathy and Rene LeClaire, were able to perform once again with the band because they are all back in town for the holidays, McDonald explained.

Having the quartet back with the band will definitely enhance the concert, McDonald said. “The four people in the quartet are first-class musicians … absolutely outstanding musicians,” he explained. Plus, it is exciting to hear live music.

The band and the quartet will not only be offering live music, but timeless pieces, too.

The music of the ‘40s, McDonald said was equivalent to today’s pop music. However, the music that Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Glenn Miller created has “lived on and will forever,” he said.

“The Big Band … has a profound substance to it that will actually live on forever,” McDonald added.

Southwest Jazz Orchestra Executive Director Richard Atkinson of Santa Fe agreed. “The Los Alamos Big band is a dynamite aggregation of energetic and swinging musicians,” he said. “Our band can’t wait to collaborate with them again at next year’s ‘Swing Into Spring’ concert up on the Hill.”

The concert, which costs $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors, will be donating most of its profits to charity. McDonald said the concert is co-sponsored by the Catholic Church and it will decide where to send the money. “It’s a good cause,” McDonald.

Whether it is to contribute to charity or to enjoy good music, McDonald encourages everyone to attend the concert. “It’s a great community activity for anyone interested in dancing to the big band sound or just listening,” he said.