WWII Big Band dance to add ‘aviation nostalgia’ to Westmoreland air show
The Jeannette-based Glass City Swing Band will perform for the World War II-themed Big Band Dance Benefit at DeNunzio’s Italian Chophouse at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on May 25.
The dance coincides with the Shop ‘n Save Westmoreland County Airshow – and although it’s a separate ticket, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the air show that features vintage aircraft, including several from the WWII era.
“The organizers of the event came to us with the request. Some folks definitely seem to be very excited about it. We certainly think it will add an element of aviation nostalgia,” says Dwayne Pickels, spokesman for the air show.
Jill and Joy Procida of Jeannette, twin sisters who are musicians, music educators and co-founders of the Glass City Swing Band, are organizers of the first-ever dance held in conjunction with the air show.
Joy serves as musical director and Jill is director of philanthropy for their foundation, GCSB Arts, Education and Wellness, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the swing era and promoting awareness of arts therapy.
The Glass City Swing Band is an 18-piece group comprised of musicians primarily from Westmoreland County who perform many Big Band and Swing Era tunes as part of their repertoire, which pays tribute to the sounds of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and more.
Jill plays saxophone and Joy plays trumpet in the band; Jill also teaches for Seton Hill University’s community music program. They both have bachelor of music degrees from Seton Hill University.
They say they grew up with music and credit their late father, Anthony “Red” Procida, an exceptional accordionist who was well-known in the area, for instilling a love of music in them.
The “hangar dance” originally was intended to be held at an airport hangar, but the air show organizers needed the space, so the sisters made arrangements to move the dinner-dance to the restaurant, which includes a banquet hall.
The dance is being organized independently of the air show, which runs May 25-26 at the airport. The women hope to make it an annual event.
“More than 100 people are coming. We’re excited,” says Jill.
Even though the dinner-dance reservation deadline has passed, she says people can still sign up to participant in the dance, which will include a cash bar, a 1940s costume contest and a silent auction.
Walk-in registrations at $50 a person (dinner not included) will be accepted until 7:15 p.m.; those who have pre-registered for the dinner and dance may register at 5:30 p.m.
Details: glasscityswing band.com
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.