The 2017 Swingin’ Christmas concert marks the end of an era of Atherton family participation in the annual tradition of Lake Country Big Band.
The band was formed in 2000 under the leadership of Eddie Atherton and is a traditional big band, including saxophones, trumpets, trombones, guitar, piano, bass, drums and two vocalists.
But the family is moving to Victoria and the Big Band is performing a final concert on Saturday night in Lake Country at 7:30 p.m. The event is also a fundraiser for the Lake Country Food Bank.
“We’re happy to partner on hosting the Swingin’ Christmas fundraiser concert at the Creekside Theatre,” said Ryan Donn, cultural development coordinator. “We’re able to support the Lake Country Big Band with promotion of this event organized as a fundraiser for the Lake Country Food Bank. It is great to support a generous group of talented local musicians giving back to the community.”
Don MacKay took over directing Lake Country Big Band in 2015 and most of the members live in Lake Country and surrounding communities.
Music is selected from hundreds of charts in the library. Atherton wrote a number of charts for the band including the popular Blues to Go. The Atherton’s contribution to the music community in Lake Country will be missed with the move to Victoria in December, according to the District of Lake Country.
This concert marks the end of a long tradition of Atherton family participation. Eddie and Mary provided leadership to the band for 15 years after starting it to give their children and local musicians a chance to play in a jazz band. Mary continued to perform until November 2017. Several of their children joined over the years; Annie on sax, Zach on trumpet and Dominique, Fran, and Mark as vocalists on occasion.
The Lake Country Big Band has performed at numerous events in the community including Canada Day festivities, Art Walk, Christmas Light Up, and Remembrance Day Services, according to the district. They have also appeared at various fund-raisers for schools, churches, and community groups.
The annual, A Swingin’ Christmas, has become a Lake Country tradition. Through this performance, the band has raised thousands of dollars for the local food bank.
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