A Swing into History USO-Style Dance At Old Independenc Regional Museum

Old Independence Regional Museum is proud to present “A Swing into History,” a USO-style dance. The fundraiser will take place Saturday, September 19th from 7-9:30 p.m. at the National Guard Armory. The dance, sponsored by the Knights Templar Masons and Arkansas Art Council’s Arts on Tour, is a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Attendees are encouraged to wear period dress (1940s) or semi-formal attire. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults, $5 for museum members and veterans (with I.D.), and $5 for children 12 and under. Free dance lessons, provided by Fusion Dance Academy, will begin at 6 p.m. for those unfamiliar or out of practice with swing dancing. A silent auction will also take place throughout the evening.

Stardust Big Band from Hot Springs will perform at the dance playing 1940’s swing music. This powerhouse 17 piece big band is the only big band consistently performing in Arkansas. Stardust was organized in 1982 by area band directors and former professional musicians who wished to continue the tradition of the “Big Band” era: Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry James and to also continue to include in their repertoire the newer arrangements of the big bands of today, such as Gordon Goodwin’s Phat Band and Rod McConnell’s Boss Brass Big Band among others. Stardust has appeared at the Pine Bluff Jazz Festival and the Hot Springs JazzFest. Their playing schedule has included Hope, Hot Springs Village, Nashville, Little Rock, Benton, Mountain Home, Clarkesville and Helena. They play monthly in the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs.

“We could not think of a better way to commemorate the anniversary of the end of WWII than to celebrate like WWII soldiers did,” stated museum director Amelia Bowman. In honor of those who served during the Second World War, family members of WWII veterans are encouraged to submit an electronic or hard copy of their WWII veteran in uniform. These will be displayed during the dance. Photos may be emailed to [email protected] or dropped off at the museum. All veterans will be honored during the dance.

A short annual business meeting will be held during a band break to vote on new museum board members and officers as well as a presentation of awards to the museum’s top two volunteers. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit OIRM operations.

Old Independence serves a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff. Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820s Arkansas territory.

This humanities program is made possible by local support from Independence County and the City of Batesville, as well as by Challenge Grant Endowment funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.