Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — Musical numbers like “Misty” and “American Patrol” are not typical of music performed in churches.
However, they will be among the selections offered on Friday, Oct. 25, when the Phoenix Jazz and Swing Band perform at the First Southern Baptist Church of Bountiful, 696 N. 400 East, at 7 p.m. The concert will be free and open to the public.
The band accepts gratuities and receives some funding from Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) program
Members have been performing for 23 years, according to Ken Zenger, the band’s coordinator and announcer. The band specialize in the music from the 1930s, 40’s and 50s.
“When the band was formed, a number of members played with bands from that era,” Zenger said.
Through the years, some members have died and have been replaced by younger musicians, but the band still has two original members. Members are mainly in their 60s, 70s and 80s.
They frequently play at nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and assisted living centers in northern Utah, but rarely at churches.
One of the church’s members knew someone in the band and arranged a concert last year, according to the Rev. Mike Pless, pastor of the Bountiful congregation.
“They packed the church,” and were invited back this year,” Pless said. “It’s something we’re doing for the community,”
After the response from the south Davis community last year, Zenger said he had no doubt they’d be back.
The group is made up of more than 20 musicians, making it a true big band, Zenger said.
They get together every Wednesday.
“If we don’t have a gig, then we practice,” Zenger said.
The group plays big band era numbers like Zenger’s favorite, “Intermission Riff,” originated by Stan Kenton. They also play music like “Willow Weep for Me,” performed by artists of several generations from Billie Holiday to Frank Sinatra to Chad and Jeremy. Another number on the program is “Georgia On My Mind,” made popular by Ray Charles.
Zenger is often asked at concerts if the group has traveled from Phoenix, Ariz., to perform. Members all live in northern Utah.
“We take our name from the Phoenix bird of myth,” Zenger said. “When the band came together members decided that like the bird, in retirement we are rising to become our new and more beautiful selves.”