Big Band of the Week – Columbia Big Band

— by Bob Jacobson —

In 2015 many members of the Columbia Concert Band wanted to play jazz, but Columbia Jazz Band was full, so they created Columbia Big Band and affiliated it with the aforementioned concert band. Columbia Big Band has since been directed by Robert Miller and managed by Tom Drake. This band is unique in the Baltimore area in that its 25 members pay dues, which they use for music, insurance and rehearsal space rental. The band includes five school band directors but otherwise the members are non-professional musicians with a wide range of abilities and experience. Some played in college jazz ensembles. “We’re not out to compete,” says Miller. “We basically have a good time playing music together.” He adds that the band’s repertoire ranges from ‘40s swing to contemporary rock, Latin, jazz and ballads, some with vocals. Their book includes music from the Count Basie, Gordon Goodwin, Glenn Miller, Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich big bands.

Columbia Big Band performs about six times per year, mostly in concerts. They have played at Glen Echo Park and would like to play more dances.

Columbia Big Band is represented on the site of Columbia Concert Bands, http://www.columbiabands.org.

This article continues our series on area big bands — if you missed the last one, you can catch it here at Big Band of the Week – Blues in the Night Orchestra.