Stark Park

A stewardship of the Friends of Stark Park

Archived -- Summer Concert Series - Compaq Big Band

  • Stark Park

The Compaq Big Band showcases the power of 15 horns, a cookin' rhythm section, a great feature vocalist, and terrific instrumental soloists for a diverse range of clients and events across the Greater Boston, Greater Worcester, Rhode Island, and Southern New Hampshire regions.

The band provides a great night of swing for dancers of all abilities. But we also have a broader repertoire of titles that round out traditional swing with ballads, foxtrots, Latin tempos, and more, providing the perfect dance accompaniment to functions, celebrations, and fundraisers of any type. The Compaq Big Band excels in concert and nightclub settings with a balanced selection of both familiar and progressive jazz charts. Music selections for all of our gigs come from an extensive sheet music library of well over 1500 hardcopy and scanned titles. We are constantly purchasing new music as it becomes published, and both new and archived titles are integrated into the band's gig books on a continual basis.

Although we are far from the traditional wedding band that can morph from swing to pop, to Top 40, to country, to disco, to polka, or whatever, we provide a stylish and impressive addition to those wedding receptions where a full 20-piece big band, all dressed in tuxedos, is what the bride and groom want to create a memorable atmosphere for their important milestone. We work with brides, grooms, wedding planners, and facility managers to program quiet jazz, classics of the Great American Songbook, slow dances, and up-tempo swing from our repertoire, then complement that with CD-, PC-, Mac-, or iPod-based prepared commercial music mixes of any type on band breaks.

There are a lot of great jazz trios, quartets, and other small groups in New England, and several very talented "pocket big bands" that usually range from 10 to 14 pieces. But there's no substitute for the sound of lush, full, authentic big band instrumentation. Some bands bill themselves as carrying as many pieces as you want or can pay for, adding players from a call list to a familiar core of musicians on an infrequent basis. The Compaq Big Band has, and always will, perform as the same 20-piece unit, gig in and gig out. We believe this provides a product of consistently high quality to our clients and audiences. To hone our skills and master challenging big band literature, the band rehearses weekly the entire calendar year, something you may not find with other groups.

But high quality execution of great charts is nothing if you don't have a good sound system and talented sound engineer. A cornerstone of the Compaq Big Band's operating strategy is our significant investment in a high end, state-of-the-art sound reinforcement system. For example, we have: Sabine wireless microphones; Shure hardwired microphones for every instrument; an Allen & Heath 32-channel mixer; Turbosound subwoofers, main speakers, and monitors; Crown amplifiers; and, Sabine anti-feedback system. This system provides a clear, crisp, natural, well-balanced sound to the dancer and listener - not "thuddy," loud, ear-shattering, and overpowering.

To make sure all this high-tech gear makes us sound "just right," we have a full-time sound engineer who has mixed for us for many years. He does this sitting at a mixing board out in the venue and adjusts according to band volume, soloists, and changing ambient noise in the room, not from sitting with the band on stage where it is impossible to hear what the audience hears. If all that's necessary in a small room is to have the band basically "unplugged," that's what you get... minimal amplification. If you have a wide open venue, we have the capability to turn up the system and reach hundreds of people.

Yet all of this experience and professionalism are surprisingly affordable. The Compaq Big Band has operated with a nonprofit philosophy since its inception, and a large part of its past and current gig history is working with civic, nonprofit, and charitable organizations on dinner-dances and other fundraising events. Our regular members have various day jobs, and come together to celebrate big band music as a passionate hobby. It's the only way we have been able to preserve and promote this great American music genre. After our basic costs are covered, remaining money from band fees goes to pay professional substitute musicians, maintain and upgrade electronics and other infrastructure, purchase new sheet music, publicity, shirts and ties, produce CDs, tour, and cover other day-to-day operating expenses.

The band is happy to provide potential clients with a complimentary copy of their first professional CD "Bandwidth" (now on its second pressing), which is played on jazz radio stations in New England, and across the United Kingdom on BBC2. We would also be happy to provide you with references from past and present clients, both in New England and in Great Britain, where the band toured to rave reviews.

Take a look at the Compaq Big Band's resume of clients, events, and venues in the New England area over the years, and our experience touring Great Britain in the summer of 2006. We have confidence that with our diverse music library, non-profit operating philosophy, complete high-end sound reinforcement system, and highly experienced sound engineer, we can work with you to provide your clients and guests with a memorable big band experience at an affordable price.

The Compaq Big Band is a New Hampshire Non-Profit Corporation and a 501(c)4 federal tax exempt organization. Our Employer Identification Number (EIN) is available to all clients.

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