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The Flashbacks keep Big Band sound alive with monthly shows

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

KINGSLAND — While members of the Flashbacks know the ins and outs of the Big Band sounds of the 1940s, you don’t have to go back that far to be familiar with the band’s repertoire. In fact, if you follow one of the most popular shows on TV, you get a taste of what this 17-member group can do.

“We still play a lot of Glen Miller and bands like that,” said Mac McCutchen, a member of the Flashbacks. “But if you watch (ABC’s) “Dancing With the Stars,” you hear a lot of what we play as well. It’s ballroom music. It’s great music to just come out and dance to.”

The Flashbacks have been keeping people out on Highland Lakes dance floors since 1983, though the sound has evolved from those early days.

Ken Carpenter started the Flashbacks as a musical outlet.

“At first, it was just for people who wanted to get together and play music,” McCutchen said. In fact, it didn’t really start off with playing the Big Band or jazz sounds it’s known for today. McCutchen remembers being one of the few horn players in the band at the time.

But as members came and went, the Flashbacks added a solid horn section, and the group began gravitating to music that favored those instruments. The Big Band sound of the 1930s and 1940s became a big part of the Flashbacks’ performances. McCutchen, however, pointed out it’s only a part of the music the group plays.

“We play music that’s arranged for big bands,” he explained. And that incorporates a lot of different pieces. McCutchen said the 1960s brought about a lot more complicated and challenging musical selections for big bands and jazz ensembles.

So folks can enjoy a wide selection of music when the Flashbacks take the stage.

The band holds regular performances the first Saturday of the month at the Kingsland Community Center, 3451 Rose Hill Drive, starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to help band members purchase more music. Dancing is definitely encouraged, but people can just come out and enjoy the music.

There is a small concession stand selling soft drinks and ice, but McCutchen said most people bring their own refreshments.

The Flashbacks are also available for private parties and functions as well. And if fundraisers are for a worthy cause, the band will usually perform at no cost for nonprofit groups, McCutchen said.

To learn more or find out where the Flashbacks are performing next, check out the band’s Facebook page.

But nothing beats hearing them in person.

After more than three decades of performing (though the faces have changed), the Flashbacks still enjoy getting out their instruments and putting on a show. And they do it for one reason.

“Love,” McCutchen said. “That’s what most of us live for: playing music. That’s the reason this music never dies, people love it so much.”

daniel@thepicayune.com

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