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Jukebox Junction to Take Audience on Nostalgic Musical Journey

March 20, 2013

Jukebox JunctionMusical revue features The Diamonds and The Glenn Miller Orchestra

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – A high-energy, non-stop musical romp through four decades of America’s favorite music is coming to the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Mainstage on Sunday, April 14, at 7 p.m., when Jukebox Junction starring The Diamonds and The Glenn Miller Orchestra takes the stage. The musical revue will put audiences “In the Mood” to take a “Stroll” down memory lane with more than 40 songs that will cover big band hits to doo-wop and rock n’ roll classics.

The Diamonds
The Diamonds have been delighting audiences since their first major hit record, Little Darlin’, sold millions of copies worldwide and helped catapult them to fame as one of the preeminent rock ‘n’ roll attractions on the entertainment scene. They continue in this tradition as one of today’s most polished touring acts spending over 200 days on the road annually. The classic rock ‘n’ roll music craze, bolstered by the recent PBS specials, still brings adoring fans of all ages to their concerts.

As baritone singer Gary Owens explains, “The crowds love to sit and listen to the great songs. But the most frequently heard comment we get after a show is—‘I sure wish we could have danced to that music tonight!’. It’s actually not unusual for a few folks to get up and do The Stroll right in the aisle.”

A major reason for The Diamonds’ longevity as performers and entertainers lies in the diverse backgrounds of the individual members of the group.

A very recent addition to the group is tenor Sean Sooter. Sooter received his early performance training with the highly acclaimed national touring group, The Young Americans, performing in eight U.S. tours and as well as Japan. Some of his production credits include various productions of Forever Plaid in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA, as well as performing with the Dapper Dans of Disneyland. Sooter has served as musical director for numerous musical productions including Five Guys Named Moe, Little Shop of Horrors, and Xanadu. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from California Baptist University and a Master of Arts degree in Education through Azusa Pacific University.

Lead singer Jerry Siggins has worked throughout the United States, Japan, and Australia as a singer and actor. He spent five summers at Jackson Hole’s Pink Garter Theater and has guest starred on The Tonight Show, Tony Orlando and Dawn, and The Love Boat. Before setting down roots as a permanent member of The Diamonds in 1991, Siggins enjoyed a successful career as an actor in television commercials and was actively involved in Southern California theatre. He sang in a doo-wop group called Danny and The Dappers and was a mainstay at Disneyland and Disney World as a vocalist with The Dapper Dans vocal quartet for years.

The newest addition to The Diamonds is bass singer Jeff Dolan. Dolan has worn many musical hats in his career, first as a member of the sensational vocal jazz group Beachfront Property, then as the bass singer and vocal contractor for Ray Conniff, touring internationally for ten years. Jeff was a member of the Dapper Dans of Disneyland, worked as a Christmas caroler for 25 years and has appeared on over 25 CDs. He has numerous recording credits including a Grammy award and singing with the Phoenix Chorale. He has graced the musical theatre stage in both Phoenix and Southern California, and served as the artistic director of the Tucson Barbershop eXperience Chorus.

Baritone singer Gary Owens has spent the longest time as a Diamond joining forces with bass singer John Felton in 1973. A well-rounded musician, Owens learned his craft as a journeyman bass player around Los Angeles while earning his undergraduate degree in music at California State University, Long Beach. In the early 1980s, Owens took a brief hiatus from The Diamonds to complete his Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Southern California. Besides singing and playing saxophone and flute, Owens does much of the vocal arranging for The Diamonds. In that capacity, he is well aware of the group’s particular effectiveness.

“Our goal has always been to keep that classic Diamonds’ sound intact,” Owens notes. “Although The Diamonds are four distinctive individuals, we have created one strong group personality. The four of us as a unit have a special chemistry, and it is that chemistry that gives us our unique identity.”

The Glenn Miller Orchestra
Glenn Miller disappeared on December 15, 1944.  The bandleader went down over the English Channel on a flight from London to Paris at the height of his popularity. In September 1942, just prior to going into the army, he had disbanded his famous orchestra and eventually formed the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band to entertain the servicemen.

Not long before he enlisted, he nosed-out Tommy Dorsey, for the “Best Sweet Band” in the Downbeat poll.  His recordings of In The Mood, Chattanooga Choo Choo, A String of Pearls, Moonlight Serenade, and Tuxedo Junction were all major hit records. Miller played to sellout crowds, and his music constantly dominated the airwaves.

On December 15, Major Miller took off in an ancient, single engine plane to precede his band to Paris.  The weather was foreboding. Not very confident, he said to the pilot, “Maybe we ought to call this off?”  The flight officer ribbed him about his fear of flying, “Do you want to live forever?”

Now, over sixty years since the public first embraced the successful Miller Sound, both the legend and the music live on. The Glenn Miller Orchestra is the most sought after big band in the world today for both concert and dance engagements. Still considered the greatest band of all time, its unique sound is loved by almost anybody that cares for dance music.

The Miller Estate formed the present Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1956 following strong popular demand aroused as a result of the successful motion picture, an immense box office smash - The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart and June Allyson. The band has been touring consistently since, playing an average of 300 live dates a year around the globe to millions of fans. 

Tickets for Jukebox Junction starring The Diamonds and The Glenn Miller Orchestra are available by calling the LMC Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-1221 or visiting www.lmcmainstage.org. Students (kindergarten through college) and seniors (60 and older) receive $3 off single-ticket prices. Groups of 20 or more receive $5 off ticket prices. For further information about group rates and special arrangements, contact Quinn Tabbert at (269) 927-8609 or qtabbert@lakemichigancollege.edu.   

The Herald Palladium and Great Lakes Eye Care are sponsoring the LMC Mendel Center Mainstage performance of Jukebox Junction starring The Diamonds and The Glenn Miller Orchestra.

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The 1,517-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre is located 30-minutes from Niles and 40-minutes from Kalamazoo and South Bend on the Lake Michigan College Napier Avenue Campus in Benton Township, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24).

The Mendel Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and one hour before show time. Tickets can be purchased in person, by phone at (269) 927-1221, or online at www.lmcmainstage.org.

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