When it comes to giving the community quality musical performances Larry LeMieux can almost always be found at the front lines.
On Oct. 13 and 14 this was most certainly the case when The Greater Mesquite Arts Foundation, along with LeMieux, presented the Big Band Swing Concert at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
Many of the members of the band are veteran performers to Mesquite so you may not be surprised to find out that along with rehearsing the music for the concert, many of them were busy in other ventures. Brian Wursten, Felicia Smith, Robin Smith, Mike Lister, Karen Ransdell, Cathy Petrus, Ava LeMieux, Sarah Mulloy and Rita Hermie just recently spent months preparing for and performing in “Radio Gals,” a musical play, only weeks prior to this concert which was also directed by LeMieux.
Veteran performers, Kathy Lee, Donna Thomas and John Dearing are among some of Mesquite’s favorite vocalists and seemed to thrill the audience members with their renditions of some of the 1940’s most popular tunes as evidenced by the thunderous applause after their performances.
There were some new faces on the stage such as Mary Ferguson, Jan Sando and Rick Boniface who provided most of the horn instruments for the band (after all what’s a big band without the horns?). Newcomers Betty Davis (cowbell) and Diane McClure (keyboards) completed the band and duplicated the sounds of those 1940 tunes.
From the audience remarks during intermission Petrus, Smith and Ransdell are always on top when it comes to performing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by the Andrew Sisters. Audience members Peter Zitz, David Bianchi and Bob Lange all appeared to be in good humor during the intermission and were looking forward to the second half of the performance. Zitz commented,“ Now, this is music we can relate to, music we’ve grown up with all our lives and boy those girls are super. I really loved the way they sang the Andrew Sisters”. Bianchi expressed how much he was enjoying the show. Bianchi mentioned that this was his first time at a concert event here in Mesquite and it was quite good. Lange, a five year resident of Mesquite, who at one time played drums with the Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco back in 1946 was also enjoying the evening.
LeMieux commented that he thought the attendance was fair on the first night of the performance. LeMieux said, “I’m very proud of the performers and all they’ve accomplished, they are truly amazing entertainers and people; they all stepped up and put their ‘A’ games into play.”
LeMieux says that he, The Greater Mesquite Arts Foundation and many of the performers are gearing up and there’s already been talk about what’s going to happen at the Christmas Concert which is the next performance in the works for the Mesquite Concert Series. The Christmas concert is scheduled Dec. 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. at the Mesquite Community Theatre, 150 N. Yucca St.
Sarah Mulloy said it all when she commented, “It’s always a pleasure to perform in Mesquite, the audience is so wonderful and enthusiastic. It’s nice to see that all of our hard work and dedication to performing is appreciated and the Mesquite audience members are the best at showing their enjoyment which makes us very eager to continue to entertain them.”