Trombonist, orchestra joining Cape Municipal Band

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Wednesday's Cape Girardeau Municipal Band concert will take audience members back to the big band era with the band's performance alongside the Jerry Ford Orchestra, featuring special guest trombonist Gene Stiman.

Stiman, who grew up in Herrin, Ill., has been playing trombone for over 60 years and in that time he has been a member of the Benny Goodman Orchestra and the lead trombonist with the Fabulous Fox Orchestra in St. Louis. He also has taught music for 31 years, including 11 years at Southern Illinois University.

"If there's anybody out there who's a trombone player, this is an opportunity to meet and hear a great trombone player," said Jerry Ford. "He's world class."

Ford met Stiman in 1964 when Ford was a senior at Southeast Missouri State University and Stiman was teaching at SIU.

Ford remembers that Peg Meyer, who worked at Shivelbine's, took him to see a spring concert of the Anna-Jonesboro, Ill., band featuring Stiman. Since then the two have been friends and have played together on several occasions.

Featuring GlennMiller

It has been four years since the Jerry Ford Orchestra has played with the Cape Girardeau Municipal Band.

Wednesday's concert will feature the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman and others performed alternately by the municipal band and the orchestra. Stiman will be featured on the songs "Danny Boy," "I've Got a Crush on You," "This Can't be Love" and the original Glenn Miller arrangement of "At Last."

Ford said concerts featuring big band music usually bring out big crowds and are particularly appealing for audience members who grew up hearing this music.

"It's a nostalgic trip back," Ford said. He said Stiman's playing is so good that "when you close your eyes, you'll swear you're listening to Tommy Dorsey."

In 1949, Stiman met up with another famous big band legend, Benny Goodman, when Goodman was playing a concert in Carbondale, Ill. Stiman was playing at a local club where Goodman happened to show up. A couple of weeks later Goodman called Stiman, asking Stiman to join his orchestra.

After playing with Goodman's orchestra for a while, Stiman pursued teaching, but still managed to play live shows. During his time at SIU, he played at the Purple Crackle on the weekends.

Since retiring from teaching in 1983, he has stayed busy playing shows, but this is the first time he has played alongside the Cape Girardeau Municipal Band.

Ford advised that people show up to Wednesday's concert a little early to catch a few special surprises.

335-6611, extension 182

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