Rancho Santa Fe Big Band’s Holiday Swing Concert promises to be better than ever


By Karen Billing

For the first time in its 11-year history, the Rancho Santa Fe Big Band will perform its holiday concert at the Village Presbyterian Church. Attendees will be able to swing on over to the church for a festive, jazzy and fun show on Sunday, Dec. 12 from 6-8:30 p.m.

“It’s a perfect venue for the band with the raised stage and over 20 tables,” lead vocalist and longtime Rancho Santa Fe resident Marie Addario said. “It’s going to be a big bash this time.”

The concert will be held in pops style, inviting people to bring their own wine and appetizers to enjoy the music but they might not stay sitting for long.

“It’s difficult at times not to get up and dance to the music,” Addario said.

Addario, a former Rancho Santa Fe Association board president, has been singing non-stop since she was 3 years old. Growing up she would gather neighborhood children together to harmonize and form little singing groups. She would continue singing in groups through high school and college — her ’60s-style college group performed frequently in Greenwich Village in New York City. When she married her husband, Dominick, a psychiatrist and talented trumpeter, the duo formed a 10-piece Dixieland band called the Yankee Air Pirates. The band performed together for 24 years, even becoming then-California Governor Pete Wilson’s band, performing at all his functions.

After 24 years the Addarios decided to mix things up and try something new. Ten years ago they teamed with Rancho Santa Fe resident Dr. Jack Wheaton, an accomplished conductor and composer who was inducted into the California Alliance for Jazz Hall of Fame earlier this year. With Wheaton and musicians from San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County, the musical Addarios formed the swingin’ Rancho Santa Fe Big Band.

The late Dr. John Feighner was one of the original Rancho Santa Fe members, playing the saxophone. The now 17-piece group plays twice a year, a spring and holiday concert, always featuring arrangements of Big Band favorites from the ’30s and ’40s.

The Dec. 12 show will be half swing, half holiday music,” to get people in the spirit of the season,” Addario said.

You can count on hearing favorites such as “Let it Snow” ; “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”; “Sleigh Ride”; and “Santa Baby.”

“I get a warm feeling,” said Addario of being on stage. “I just love to see people’s faces enjoying music. Performing is all about bringing joy to other people, it’s all about give and take between the audience and performers.”

Addario said thanks to the church’s generosity, tickets to the concert are available at a reduced price of $40 per person or $400 for a table of 10. For reservations, call Addario at (858) 756-4542. For more information, visit