Get set to swing with Rancho Santa Fe Big Band and the music of ‘The Greatest Generation’

The Rancho Santa Fe Big Band performs Nov. 8 at the Rancho Santa Fe Village Church Fellowship Hall. Courtesy photo

The Rancho Santa Fe Big Band, a 17-piece swing orchestra of the highest quality dedicated to the preservation and performance of the music of the “Greatest Generation,” will be performing from 6-8:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Rancho Santa Fe Village Church Fellowship Hall, 6225 Paseo Delicias.

Tickets are $45 or $400 per table of 10. Call 858-756-4542; visit

It’s been coined the “Greatest Generation” by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the kids who grew up in the United States during the Great Depression, and then who fought in World War II. Music of their era began in the mid 1920s with a form of a sweet and melodic jazz, often including violins. Among the artists were Paul Whiteman, Ted Lewis, Rudy Vallee and Fred Waring. Then in the 1930s a new movement in jazz took form and took off – “swing” with a new crop of musicians such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw. During and soon after World War II, Earl Hines, Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton introduced Bebop style to jazz. From the 1950s to the 1970s performers such as Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Stan Kenton found their direction and added to the already vibrant vibe of 20th century music.

The Rancho Santa Big Band is a 17-piece swing orchestra of the highest quality dedicated to the preservation and performance of the music of the “Greatest Generation” also known as the Swing Era. It was conceived by former band director, the late Professor Jack Wheaton, along with Dominick Addario, M.D., and the late John Feighner M.D., and is in its 14th year. Wheaton’s illustrious career included the International Association for Jazz Education and The Musicians Association of SD County of which he presided. He authored 15 books, 10 CDs and film scores; received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Educators of California; an Emmy for the Stan Kenton Collegiate Neophonic ABC Special; conducted the Stan Kenton Collegiate Neophonic for the LA Jazz Institute; and trained 84 pianists for the Gershwin segment of the 1984 Olympics.

This swing orchestra is big, bold and performs the remarkable vintage arrangements of the talented musician/composers of the 1930s and ‘40s in a club atmosphere of tables and a bring-your-own appetizers. Conducted by longtime band member and bassist Dave Murray, the line-up includes some of the finest musicians in Southern California, including Bob Mathes, Les Keppics, Robbie Smith and Chris Klich. Some of the band’s members have played with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, and have backed up greats such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Peggy Lee and more. This non-profit organization has contributed to various San Diego charities, including the Camp Pendleton Marine Family Food Drive, KSDS Radio, and local organizations in their home town. The band has performed on the greens at both the La Jolla Cove and Rancho Santa Fe July 4th concerts.

Band vocalist and event coordinator, Marie Addario brings her soulful sound to swing. Having hailed from the NY metropolitan area, she has been playing and performing popular, folk, traditional (Dixieland) and swing music since her early teens. Dom Addario, producer and trumpeter of the RSF Big Band, performed with groups and orchestras on the east and west coasts throughout his musical career and does an exacting, crowd-exciting rendition of Louie Armstrong. (“It’s a bit confusing”, he said, “but a fan once told me that I did Louie, better than Louie. )

When not in concert, Dom is a forensic psychiatrist with a practice in San Diego, and Marie is the editor-in-chief of Gastronome, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs National food and wine magazine.