The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 13, 2014

Big Bands on the Beach return to Walnut Beach

ASHTABULA — For the ninth year, swinging Big Band music will return to Walnut Beach this summer.

Sponsored by Ashtabula County Medical Center, Big Bands on the Beach is a series of free concerts featuring local big bands.

Ashtabula resident, Timothy Kalil, who has organized the event since the beginning, said he’s enjoyed being a part of people’s lives in “this wonderful community and county of Ashtabula.”

More than 2,000 people have attended the events each summer and his job has been made easier by the support and cooperation of the City of Ashtabula, he said.

Bands play from 4 to 6 p.m. one Sunday a month at the Walnut Beach concession stand, with open seating for the audience. Bring a chair and sit in the shade near the hillside, or bring a blanket and enjoy the music from the beach.

The 2014

schedule is:

• June 15 — Madison Jazz Project

• July 6 — Ed Michaels Jazz Ensemble

• July 20 — Prime Time Big Band

• Aug.17 — Tony Esposito Big Band

“Through the years, I have heard and met many fine bands and musicians and they  have immensely enriched my life and of course the artistic life of this county,” Kalil said. “Our Walnut Beach location offers some of the most scenic beauty and natural wonders of this county and when Lake Erie is calm and sailboats are meandering on a sun-filled, picture postcard afternoon, one believes that ‘this is truly as good as it gets.’”

The first concert will feature the Madison Jazz Project — a band that has been playing in northeast Ohio since 1994. The group is a mix of men and women from high-school age to octogenarians who all share a love of swinging music. The band is a brass ensemble with drums and keyboard.

They blend a traditional jazz and big band sound, and play standards such as “Little Brown Jug”, “New York, New York,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Summertime,” and “Witchcraft” and other hits from Duke Ellington, Les Brown, Perry Como and more.

Ed Michaels, headlining the July 6 concert, has been a jazz staple in Northeast Ohio for years. He is a tenor saxophonist who regularly performs with the top musicians of Northeast Ohio. Michaels has released a CD, entitled “Going Beyond.” His musical influences include Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Joe Henderson and other jazz greats.

Michaels was recently honored by the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Prime Time Big Band formed in 1976 as the Richmond Heights Community Big Band. Through the years, members have come and gone, but several of the original band members continue to offer the same sound — now as the Prime Time Big Band.

The band’s style includes a repertoire of dance favorites including foxtrots, waltzes, polkas and more. However, the band’s roots are in big band favorites including swing music.

The Tony Esposito Big Band plays a variety of popular favorites from the 1930s and 1940s, and focuses on swing music that showcases Tony’s trumpet playing, as well as that of other band members.

Each concert will also feature a presentation by an ACMC medical provider, covering topics such as diabetes, blood pressure, neurological concerns and more.

Big Bands on the Beach is hosted by the City of Ashtabula.

The full schedule is also available by visiting the ACMC website at and clicking on the ACMC Calendar.

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