Music is a two-faced player when it comes to the generation gap, possessing equal abilities to widen or bridge the gap
as it sees fit.
Fort Lewis College's Swingtones haven't just bridged the gap; they've filled in the hole completely and paved it.
It's a versatile group," said Brad Schoolland, who plays alto saxophone for the Swingtones.
The band is made up entirely of FLC music majors: Zach Jones (baritone sax), TaSheena Cavill (trumpet), Kevin Bedee
(trombone), Michael Morris (drums), Evan Suiter (bass), Jack Maynes (piano), Jamie Olinger (guitar) and vocalists Kelly
Vick and Chauncey Larson.
The Swingtones will play its second official gig tonight at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, providing the music for
Darla Hill's semiannual swing dance. With nary a member older than 25, the band is surprisingly adept at recreating the
Big Band sound of the 1930s and '40s. Schoolland credits the influence of neo-swingers like Brian Setzer and Big Bad
Voodoo Daddy with inspiring him and his band mates to learn more.
I always liked that upbeat swing sound and rockabilly, and coming to school helped broaden my horizons. It just
expanded out from there," Schoolland said.
Hill, who taught dance for more than 20 years, has cut her schedule down to a few swing dances each year. She gives
lessons before each evening begins, but she does it for free. She's charging enough for tonight's show to pay the
Swingtones, and anything left over will be donated to the VFW or another charity.
They're a fun group to work with, and they're so into it and enthusiastic," Hill said of Swingtones.
I work with them to help them become a dance band. So I give them little tips like 'Don't play too many fast songs in
a row,' pacing things like that. But they sound great."
Schoolland said tonight's set will be a mix of old and new, with standard Big Band fare mingled with Setzer and Big Bad
Voodoo Daddy tunes, Sinatra and even Tower of Power. Sometime during the night, Hill will remind everyone that it's
Christmastime with a quick lesson on the Jingle Bell Rock" line dance.