HISTORY OF THE WESTWIND SWING BAND
The WSB was founded in 2014 as a small subgroup of the Hopkins Westwind Concert Band primarily inspired by the music of Artie Shaw. The band focuses on music from the 1920's, 30's, and 40's, playing a combination of swing music and jazz tunes popularized by iconic bands like Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and of course, Artie Shaw!
We started with just 11 members! 2 Clarinets, 2 Trumpets, 2 Saxophones, 1 Trombone, 1 Euphonium, a Drummer, Keyboard player and a vocalist. Didn’t even have a bass player! Many of the band members were also members of the HWCB. Even with our small size, we were still able to play the classic swing tunes of the era! Our list of tunes that we could do was short, though, so for a few of our first gigs, we would have to repeat some of them!
Over the years, we have evolved into a full, 18-piece traditional big band with 4 Trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 Saxes, Keyboard, Drums, Upright Bass, Guitar and a vocalist. Our songbook is now quite large and constantly growing and we have no trouble performing a 3-4 hour gig with a great variety of instrumental and vocal tunes. Due to our continued success, we have been able to further our evolution by forming our own, independent organization as of May, 2022.
In 2022, we became a regular band at the Wabasha Street Caves in St. Paul, where we play on the 1st Thursday of every month for their Thursday Swing Dance night. In addition to that, we are experiencing a record number of performances which included many Music in The Park events, The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Parley Lake Winery, weddings, and the Lake Harriet Band Shell.
We are becoming a Twin Cities wedding band of note with several recent bookings and we are already booking into 2024! Call now to check availability and reserve your date! We are so appreciative to all who have supported and encouraged us over the years and we look forward to many more performances in the future!