2020 has been a challenging year for non-profits and arts organizations. Unforgettable Big Band is no exception, and we are opening this fundraiser to cover annual expenses not covered due to lack of performances.
Connecting our past with our present and tomorrow through music is what we do. Unforgettable Big Band is blessed to be located in a city that has been historically relevant during every important moment in the development of our nation. From the Revolutionary period, when the Continental Congress set up shop in the courthouse and drafted the Articles of Confederation, to the declaration of America's first Thanksgiving, to the Confederate occupation during the Civil War, and on into the 20th Century when the York Plan set the standard for civilian production in support of the heroic efforts in World War II. Located on the Lincoln Highway, York became a very important manufacturing hub during the first half of the 20th century, and that's where we come in.
Following the prohibition era, large dance halls blossomed out of nothingness. The repeal of prohibition released pent up desires of Americans to get out and socialize, and during the 1930s, that is exactly what they did, flocking to the dance halls, which were enormous. Such large halls, unlike the smaller speakeasies of the earlier era, required "big" bands to fill the space with sound in an era that predated amplification, and thus the Big Band era was born. York was an epicenter for the era, as a midway stopping over point between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and in an ideal location to draw crowds from Harrisburg, Lancaster, Gettysburg and Baltimore, making the city a "must" for all the big traveling bands of the era. Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown, Jimmy Dorsey, Chick Webb, Count Basie, and more all visited and performed in York, along with their sidemen and vocalists including Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, and a nearly endless list of talent. The crowds came, flocking to the Valencia Ballroom, the Alcazar Ballroom, and the Yorktowne Hotel, and our home was never without big name entertainment.
Today, the Unforgettable Big Band carries on the big band tradition. As the area's leading big swing band, Unforgettable performs a full schedule of community, corporate and private events each year, and sponsors events that draw from the entire region. The band has appeared in 4 states and the District of Columbia, with appearances in Frank Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken, NJ on the list, along with a special appearance at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. In early 2020, the band was named as the first ever recipient of the "Best Ensemble" award at the inaugural Central Pennsylvania Music Awards.
During 2020, our 20th anniversary season, the COVID-19 pandemic erased our entire schedule of more than 20 performances. Determined to keep the music alive, members of Unforgettable Big Band created several new video performances by recording individual parts at home with their cameras or cell phones, and then combining them into complete arrangements. The band was also able to present a series of open summer outdoor rehearsals, along with an outdoor Pops Concert at Cousler Park through the generosity of the Manchester Township Parks and Recreation department.
This month, as we celebrate the holiday season, we are asking for your help. Some maintenance expenses, such as insurance and storage, remain ongoing regardless of whether or not the band has a source of income through performances. So, on this Giving Tuesday, we are launching a month long fundraiser to generate enough resources to ensure we are able to continue keeping the music alive into 2021. And we're giving out CDs to those who make the commitment to lend a hand. All of us at Unforgettable Big Band are looking forward to the day when we are able to get back to bringing live music back to our friends and fans throughout the region and the world.
And finally, don't forget to check out our YouTube channel, where we are releasing never before seen video from our 2019 Christmas Spectacular each day, along with more great content, leading up to our virtual Christmas Spectacular which will stream on Christmas Eve.
From all of us, to all of you, we thank you for letting us be a part of your musical tapestry.
Can’t donate? Please share. Even a quick share on Facebook can help.
The average share raises $97.