Coastal Carolina University will present "When Swing Was King,"
musical production acclaimed for its nostalgic evocation of the big
band era, on Friday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Wheelwright Auditorium.
Admission to the performance is $20; $10 for students under age 18.
The event is part of Coastal's Wheelwright Gala, an annual event
which raises funds for an endowment to benefit the university's
cultural programming mission. Tickets to the black-tie gala, including
dinner prepared by award-winning area chefs at 6 p.m. and reserved
seating for the performance, are $100 per person. The proceeds from
this year's gala will be used to purchase Steinway pianos for Coastal's
Department of Music.
The show features a 14-member swing ensemble led by Frankie Lester
and Don Edwards, veteran performers who sang and played with the
legendary big bands of the 1940s and 1950s. An extra dimension is
provided by a large screen video presentation which flashes hundreds of
photos from the heyday of swing music.
Lester, the creator, host, narrator and male vocalist of When
Swing Was King, began his career with the Ted Lewis Orchestra in the
1940s and was chosen by Tommy Dorsey to replace Frank Sinatra as lead
singer of Dorsey's famous band. During World War II, Lester toured the
European Theater with Hal McIntyre and his Orchestra. He has also
served as the leader of the Billy May and Eddie Howard orchestras.
Trumpeter Don Edwards, director of the When Swing Was King
Orchestra, began his career in the military during World War II.
Following the war, he traveled as lead trumpet with the bands of Hal
McIntyre, Billy May, Stan Kenton, Les Elgart and Ray Anthony. During a
15-year stint in Las Vegas, Edwards performed with such artists as Ella
Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He
continues to appear occasionally with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.
Starr Acheson, the show's lead female vocalist, has sung on
Broadway and in many touring musical comedy shows throughout the United
States. For 10 years she performed with her own jazz band in Hilton
Head Island and Charleston. She is highly regarded as an interpreter of
Big Band standards made famous by Helen O'Connell, Doris Day, Helen
Forest, Peggy Lee and others.
For more information, contact the Wheelwright Box Office at 349-