Artie Shaw Big Band comes to Salisbury May 6

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As the United States prepared to enter World War II, Time reported that to the average German, the U.S. meant “sky-scrapers, Clark Gable and Artie Shaw.”
Many years later, in 1983, Shaw made a brief return to launch a touring orchestra, led by Dick Johnson, and that band is still around and touring, now under the direction of clarinetist Matt Koza. Shaw died in 2004 at the age of 94.
Sponsored by the Rowan County Concert Association, The Artie Shaw Big Band will make a stop in Salisbury at Catawba College’s Keppel Auditorium on Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m.
Shaw was a big part of the great swing era of 1935-45. His first big hit was “Begin the Beguine,” which helped him become known as the “King of Swing.”
In the 1930s he hired Billie Holiday as his band vocalist and was the first white bandleader to employ a black female singer as a full-time member of his band. In the mid 1940s, his dance band featured vocalist Mel Torme.
The program will include one of Shaw’s signature songs, “Begin the Beguine,” as well as other classics like “Stardust” and “All the Things You are.”
Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students 18 and under.
They are available at the Rowan Visitor Center, Salisbury Belk, Literary Book Post and the Keppel box office one hour before the show.
To purchase tickets online, go to
For information, call 704-633-1474 or 704-636-0181.