Canadian Big Band Celebration
Celebrating the music of the most cherished period of popular music was the spark behind establishing a Canadian big band celebration in the area. Hosted by the Stardust Big Band and organized by a very committed group of local volunteers, the first Canadian Big Band Celebration was held on Saturday September 23, 1995 at the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers) Convention Centre.
Musicians and big band fans danced, listened and shared in the joy and excitement produced by five Canadian big bands on this memorable date. Later the same day between the afternoon and evening shows, musicians enjoyed a wonderful banquet served up in the CAW Convention Centre dining room and then socialized and/or “jammed” together before the evening show began. This first celebration was so successful that before the last band performed in the evening, the organizing committee declared the celebration an annual event to the cheers of the 600 big band supporters in attendance.
In 1998, after receiving a "thumbs up" from the audience regarding plans to expand the celebration, the committee proceeded to organize three events; “Friday Night Jazz” featuring 8 live Jazz combos at local venues in Port Elgin and Southampton. “The Big Event” on Saturday at the CAW Convention Centre, featuring 5 Big Bands for dancing the afternoon and evening away and to wrap-up a perfect weekend a delicious “Sunday Jazz Breakfast” in the CAW banquet room. The expansion to three events was well received and began to attract a wider audience with the addition of jazz combo entertainment to the big band weekend.