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Some of the members of Jack Kelley's Little Big Band.  Photo: Jack Kelley
Some of the members of Jack Kelley's Little Big Band. Photo: Jack Kelley

Big sounds from Jack Kelley's little band

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A group of musicians who love swing and big band music gather every week to practice. Todd Moe caught up with Jack Kelley's Little Big Band as they prepped for an evening of music and dancing on Saturday night, to help celebrate the Potsdam CORC Thrift Store's 40th anniversary.

Join Jack Kelley's Little Big Band at the C.O.R.C. Thrift Store's Spring Fling, Saturday at 7:30 pm, at First Presbyterian Church in Potsdam. An evening of swing dancing to celebrate the store's 40th anniversary. Dance lessons at 7 pm.

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Reported by

Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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Summary of the conversation:

Jack Kelley's 15-member Little Big Band has played jazz, swing, and contemporary classics from Watertown, Massena, and all throughout the Adirondacks.

Jack Kelley plays the trumpet and started this band about 9 years ago. Jack attended Berkeley's School of Music in 1966 for a short period of time before the draft. After he was drafted, he tried out for the army band. He got in and played with performers from all over the nation. After the army, he went to art school for graphic design and started a business. Music has always been an essential part of Jack's life and it should be available to anyone, especially young kids. "The music program is something we need to continue in the school systems. It is something I started when I was 11 years old. I'm 66 years old now and I'm still playing," says Kelley.

Some other band members are G Khan (George Khan) on piano and keyboard, Tom Hardiman with vocals, and manager Marlene Cox.  

G Khan is one of the original members of the group. Khan says, "It is such a privilege to get together with a group of other real musicians. You just enjoy playing the music, the other people, and the sound that the group produces. When you see the look on people's faces when we play and hear the applause, it is worth more than anything, it really is."

Tom Hardiman is one of the group's newest members and is from Potsdam. He serves as the announcer and vocalist of the group. "The joy for me is the magic of all the spirits that are involved. You saw how collaborative it is. Each piece is a different art form. I like all music as long as it's good and this is really good," says Hardiman.

The band's manager Marlene Cox is also a skilled musician. She has played the trumpet since 1953. "My music teacher told me I could not play and told my mother not to buy me a horn; look at me now," she says.

Saturday night, the band will play dance music at the third annual "Spring Fling Swing Dance" at the first Presbyterian Church in Potsdam. Proceeds will benefit the CORC Thrift Store will is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It began in 1973 when a group of Potsdam churches decided to pool their individual efforts and resources and provide a store where clothing and housing items could be purchased at a low cost.

You are invited to join this celebration tomorrow night. There will be swing dance lessons are from 7:00-7:30 pm with Loraina Ghiraldi, followed by music, provided by Jack Kelley's Little Big Band, and dancing: 7:30-9:00 pm. Ticket prices are $8.00 per person or $5.00 with a student ID. You can get your tickets at the CORC Thrift Store on 8 Willow Street, Potsdam, NY or at Nature's Storehouse on 21 Main Street in Canton.

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