Ken Dahleen and his Big Band Staff wrap the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series on Thursday, Aug. 24.
Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Ken Dahleen and his Big Band Staff wrap the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series on Thursday night, Aug. 24.

Dahleen and his board produce the successful series for locals, giving the town an old-fashioned “gathering in the park” summer music experience.

Like the Fourth of July Parade and the Christmas Tree Lighting celebration, ISCS has become a free staple in Idyllwild’s entertainment calendar. All three events, along with the Lemon Lily and Lilac festivals, continue to enhance the homegrown and friendly small-town vibe that defines Idyllwild.

Dahleen’s big band provides a window into the time in the 1940s when popular music was big-band music. The music was upbeat, the dancing was vibrant and enthusiastic, and the country’s mood was brightened at a very dark time. The Swing Era, from the late 1930s to the late 1940s, was a time when big-band music began to incorporate jazz influences, with more musical space given over to improvisational soloing. Big bands were stamped by their leaders, with a wide range of musical styles and approaches from Count Basie’s propulsive swing to the more sophisticated arrangements of Duke Ellington.

There was a unifying aspect to big-band music, with the youth of America embracing this new form as performed by black bandleaders Ellington, Basie, Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines, and white leaders Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, the Dorsey
Brothers and Glen Miller.

Next week’s concert will feature a broad mix of music, noted Dahleen. “We’ll be playing our favorite music, with something for everyone,” he said, “including big-band arrangements of contemporary music.” The BBS takes the stage at 7 p.m. There is no opening act for this concert. Thanks to Idyllwild concert patrons, donors and sponsors, this is the first year the series budget has been reached before the last two concerts.

On Friday, Aug. 25, ISCS hosts Idyllwild’s largest dance party and end-of-summer ISCS celebration. John King and Change Required will play from 6 to 9 p.m. for dancing at the Idyllwild Community Center site. Bring your best moves, upbeat to sweet, and join your friends for this closing summer musical event.

Royce Price doing calisthenics with the help of the Dixie Machine at last Thursday night’s Idyllwild Summer Concert Series at the ICC site. Photo by Peter Szabadi