September 20, 2014
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Beantown Swing Orchestra headlines Kent Center "Swing into Spring"
JOHN STEVENS

The Beantown Swing Orchestra, the high energy, 18-piece swing band that wowed guests at The Kent Center’s Swing into Spring celebration last year, will be back for this year’s swing May 17.

The band, lead by two vocalists including jazz aficionado Laura Brunner and “American Idol” alum John Stevens, accompanied by a troupe of swing dancers, will entertain guests at The Kent Center’s 3rd Annual Swing into Spring Celebration May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel’s Garden Pavilion.

The Beantown Swing Orchestra is the future of big band swing and they are leading the way in bringing back this timeless American musical genre to the delight of audiences of all ages. Their appeal is truly universal and is wonderfully entertaining to longtime lovers of, as well as novices to, swing music and swing dancing.

Beantown Swing has been playing large-capacity venues for several years and they have attracted quite a following. They released their first album entitled “Trolley Songs” in 2011. This album is a compilation of some of the most beloved classic songs of the swing era, all done in their own arrangements. They followed up “Trolley Songs” with “A Beantown Christmas,” which contained traditional holiday tracks in addition to five of their own original songs. These talented musicians, many of whom studied at the Berklee College of Music, will not disappoint.

The vintage-styled, high stepping swing dance troupe will also not disappoint, and just may be the highlight of the show. The swing dancers will both entertain and partner with guests who would like to learn a step or two. (Swing dance proficiency is not required.) A reception with passed hors d’oeuvres, food and dessert stations, and a cash bar, will kick off the evening. Proceeds from Swing into Spring will support The Kent Center in its mission to improve the quality of life for adults, children and families facing issues of mental illness, substance abuse and psychological trauma. The Kent Center serves more than 4,000 people a year with behavioral health challenges, many of whom also face issues of poverty, homelessness, unemployment and other chronic health issues.

Swing into Spring is chaired by longtime Kent Center benefactor Michael Integlia Jr. and is sponsored in part by Genoa Healthcare, Michael Integlia & Company, Pawtucket Credit Union, USI and The Washington Trust Company. Tickets are $75 and may be purchased by calling 691-6000, x335 or by logging onto www.thekentcenter.org/swingintospring.htm.

TEEN MARTIN: Beantown Swing Orchestra’s male vocalist, John Stevens, is best known for his appearance on the popular television program “American Idol.” In 2004, at the age of 16, Stevens placed sixth overall on the third season of the show. His mature crooning ability in the style of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin earned him millions of votes from viewers across America and spawned his nickname "Teen Martin." After the show, Stevens toured the United States with the other finalists, performing in 49 shows in 46 cities. He also appeared on several national television shows, including “Ryan Seacrest Live,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O'Brien,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “Live with Regis and Kelly.”

After finishing high school, Stevens continued to follow his passion for music by attending Berklee College of Music and graduating in 2009. It was during his time in Boston that he joined the Beantown Swing Orchestra, a band consisting of his peers, which enabled him to express his love of Sinatra's music in the ultimate manner. From making brides' dreams come true with his serenading to getting everyone on the dance floor with his rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight," Stevens is an indispensable part of this band and plays a critical role in shaping its sound.


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