Swingmania wins ‘best band’ award for second yearWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For another year, Jeff McDonald can continue calling Swingmania the “busiest and best big band in the region.”
For the second year, Swingmania won “Best Band” in the “The Battle of the Bands X Swing Dance” competition held March 1 at the Masonic Temple Crystal Ballroom in Detroit — something that will stick with them until they have to defend their title this time next year.
“We all worked so hard to pull off this victory,” McDonald said in an email. “I’m so proud of our group of excellent players and singers.”
Swingmania won based on an applause meter as well as judges. They won against a big band from Detroit.
McDonald will keep the trophy he’s had for a year. It will be engraved again to reflect their latest victory.
Despite his busy schedule, McDonald is also involved in a project that matters a lot to him — restoring the original Gene Krupa library, which was destroyed in a Yonkers, N.Y., house fire in 1973. Because there aren’t any original pieces by Krupa anywhere, McDonald is spending time and money to get them rewritten. Presently, 40 pieces have been rewritten and represented to the public.
During the competition last weekend, Swingmania played some.
“This man was one of the true jazz legends of all time,” McDonald said. “He really became an influence on my playing.”
The Toledo band, comprised of 34 members, was formed in 2000 with McDonald’s partner Mike Overholt. Since the beginning, he had aspirations of being the best.
The band frequents local spots like SouthBriar Restaurant in Sylvania and Dégagé Jazz Café in Maumee. Nowadays, the group can be seen every Tuesday at Trotters Tavern, 5131 Heatherdowns Blvd, a place McDonald said feels like home.
Coming up, Swingmania will be at One2 Lounge at TREO, 5703 Main St. in Sylvania on March 8, Ye Olde Durty Bird, 2 S St Clair St., on March 21 and a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s at The Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle in Maumeeon March 28.
In January, McDonald told Toledo Free Press the busy schedule is what’s rewarding.
“The music itself, that means a lot. That defines the band,” McDonald said. “I have access to some of the finest arrangers in the area [as well as] L.A., Chicago, New York, and I’ve collected these things … when you play this music, it’s the passion. You have to really love it. A lot of our guys do just that.”
For more information, visit www.swingmania.org.