Music for Montauk Series salutes Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall concert


The Benny Goodman Orchestra’s famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert was recreated Saturday night by the Dick Lowenthal Orchestra at Montauk School as part of the Music for Montauk Series.

“It’s fun music and swing music is still popular around the world,” said Mr. Lowenthal, who conducts the big band of 15 musicians on saxaphone, horn, piano, bass, drums, clarinet and vibes. He is based in New Jersey.

The band played the classics from the Carnegie Hall concert, which Goodman performed January 16, 1938, presenting them in the same order in which they were heard nearly 71 years ago. After playing Goodman’s orchestra’s signature piece, “Let’s Dance,” the band launched immediately into “Don’t Be That Way,” as it was originally arranged by Edgar Sampson.

“We try to be faithful with this concert and use the original order of the Benny Goodman concert,” Mr. Lowenthal said.

The program was called “Let’s 
Dance” and the music made concert-goers feel like dancing, but the 
evening’s entertainment in the school gym was for listening only.

“I would have gotten up and danced,” said Rae Burgess of Montauk. “This music really brings back a lot of memories. I was a swinger once.”

Ruth Widder of Montauk and New York is the organizer of Music for Montauk, which offers an ongoing series of concerts—classical, choral, vocal and swing—for Montauk and neighboring communities. It is funded by contributors from the Montauk and throughout the town. The evening’s concert was also supported, in part, with grants from East Hampton Town and Suffolk County.

“This is our holiday program. We do a program of jazz for each of the holiday concerts,” said Ms. Widder, who noted that Music for Montauk is in its 18th year, and the Dick Lowenthal Orchestra has been playing swing and jazz in Montauk for 12 years.

The orchestra played many of the Goodman orchestra’s hits Saturday night, including “Sometimes I’m Happy,” “One O’clock Jump,” “Shine,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Body and Soul,” “Bie Mir Bist Due Schoen,” (sung by the mother-daughter duo of Natalie and Michelle Veyvoda of New York), “Stomping at the Savoy,” “I Got Rhythm,” and the popular “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

Some of the pieces were played by the whole orchestra, and others, Like “Stompin at the Savoy” and “I Got Rhythm,” featured a break-out quartet of piano, vibes, clarinet, and drums.

During the Goodman concert, members of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington Orchestras joined in on stage, Mr. Lowenthal told the audience.

The Lowenthal Orchestra featured something that the all-male club of jazz musicians of the 1930s probably never saw—a woman trumpet player, Louise Barringer of Connecticut, and some in the audience said that was a unique part of the show.

“The audience really seemed to respond to the uniqueness of the woman trumpet player,” said Deidre Weliky, of New York and Montauk. “And it really struck me that the band seemed to enjoy what they are doing.”

Backstage, at intermission, members of the orchestra and Mr. Lowenthal seemed to agree.

“We do really enjoy what we do,” he said.

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