KCCU Radio will present the world-famous Harry James Orchestra on Saturday, April 11 at Lawton's McMahon Memorial Auditorium at 7 p.m. The concert caps KCCU's 2009 Spring Membership Drive and kicks off the station's celebration of 20 years of broadcasting in Oklahoma and Texas. An affiliate of National Public Radio, KCCU is a listener-supported radio station licensed to Cameron University that broadcasts throughout western Oklahoma and north Texas. Area coverage includes Lawton/Ft. Sill (89.3 and 102.9), Ardmore (90.3), Duncan (89.3), Altus (90.1), Weatherford/Clinton/Elk City (89.1), Chickasha (100.1), Woodward (95.9) and Wichita Falls, TX (88.7). Tickets for the concert are $15 each or $25 per couple and can be purchased at the McMahon Auditorium box office or by phone at 580-581-3472.
"KCCU is pleased to present the Harry James Orchestra as a way of thanking our listeners throughout Oklahoma and Texas for their continued support," says Ted Riley, KCCU General Manager. "This is sure to be a fun-filled concert with lots of classic big-band favorites."
Under the direction of trumpeter Fred Radke, the Harry James Orchestra continues to bring audiences to their feet with the revitalized music of the big band era. Launched by trumpeter Harry James in 1939, who left the Benny Goodman Orchestra to start his own band, the Harry James Orchestra was one of the best-selling groups of the big band era. James, one of the most outstanding instrumentalists of the swing era, was also one of the most popular bandleaders of the first half of the 1940s. He continued to lead his band until just before his death in 1983.
Popular hits include "I've Heard That Song Before," from the movie "Youth on Parade," "You Made Me Love You," , the number one instrumental hit "Sleepy Lagoon," "I Had the Craziest Dream," "You'll Never Know," and James' theme song, "Ciribiribin." The Harry James Orchestra was instrumental in launching the careers of numerous pop music stars of the World War II era, including Frank Sinatra and Helen Forrest.
Trumpeter, conductor, musical clinician and educator Fred Radke, one-time lead trumpeter for the Harry James Orchestra, was hand-picked by the Harry James estate in 1989 to lead the Harry James Orchestra for its 50th anniversary tour. He has continued in that role off and on for the past 20 years. Radke's performances on trumpet are often cited for their similarity of sound and music style to that of his mentor, Harry James. Radke is also in his 16th year as the Seattle Four Seasons Olympic Hotel's Music Director and house big-band leader and has appeared in ballrooms and nightclubs throughout the U.S. and Canada.
He has also played lead trumpet for the Glen Miller Orchestra, led by Ray McKinnley, and appeared in the same role with Leslie Uggams, The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Johnny Ray, Phil Harris, The Modernaires, Jack Jones, The Pied Pipers, Earl Grant, The Lennon Sisters, The King Family, Dennis Day, Connie Stevens, Pat Boone, Edie Adams, Anita O'Day, Rich Little, Art Lund, Ella Fitzgerald, Connie Haines and Mel Torme.
Joining the Harry James Orchestra for this performance is vocalist Barbara Rosene, a passionate interpreter of American popular music of the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s. Variety Magazine says of Rosene, "Her voice reflects a winsome page from the past. Often it coos with a perky and insinuating sexy edge." Jazz critic and historian Scott Yanow includes Rosene in his guide to 521 Great Jazz Singers In his book, "The Jazz Singers."
Due to her knowledge of The Great American Songbook, the Tin Pan Alley composers, and her devotion to the early female vocalists, Rosene has become a popular speaker on these topics at music programs around the nation.
April 3, 2009