Still in the swing

Saxophonist Larry Elgart brings his orchestra to Chambersburg, Pa.

Saxophonist Larry Elgart brings his orchestra to Chambersburg, Pa.

July 21, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Larry Elgart was just a boy when he got hooked on swing music by listening to the family's Crystal Set radio in their New Jersey living room.

"I listened to early bands that were on from roadhouses and things around the country. I found that swing music is such a happy form of music that it made me feel good," said Elgart in a recent phone interview from his home in Florida.

That's one reason he said yes in 1982 when RCA Records called him to see if he would do a "Hooked on Swing" record, patterned after the popular "Hooked on Classics."


On Saturday, July 23, Larry Elgart and His Orchestra will perform "Hooked on Swing" from the album, "Hooked on Swing, Vol. 1" at 8 p.m. at Chambersburg Area Senior High School. The performance was moved to the high school because of a partial ceiling collapse at The Capitol Theatre several weeks ago.

The 17-piece orchestra, including Elgart on his alto sax, also will perform "Hooked on Astaire," "Harlem Nocturne" and "Bandstand Boogie," the theme song he co-wrote for "American Bandstand."

"Hooked on Swing, Vol. 1" was recorded, mixed and produced within six or seven weeks. Elgart recruited the musicians, played his alto sax, selected the music and mixed it.

When he finished the album in RCA's studio in New York City, he and his wife went to Florida and heard it playing on the car radio.

"Everyone was playing it," said Elgart, who came home to an unbelievable amount of congratulatory messages on his answering machine.

"Hooked on Swing" hit the Top 20 in the early 1980s, said Elgart's wife, Lynn.

"It was just like a whirlwind and the record is still selling," he said. He has made 55 albums, including two follow-ups to "Hooked on Swing, Vol. 1."

And Elgart is still performing.

Elgart, 83, performed 25 to 30 concerts last year, is touring again this year and has no plans to retire, he said.

He's hooked.

If you go ...

WHAT: Larry Elgart & His Orchestra

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23

WHERE: Chambersburg Area Senior High School auditorium, 511 S. Sixth St. Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: Prices range from $18 to $29.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 north to exit for U.S. 30. Turn left off exit onto U.S. 30. Turn left on Sixth Street. Go about five blocks to the corner of McKinley and Sixth streets. There is ample, free parking on the street and in lots. The auditorium is air-conditioned.

For tickets and more information, call Capitol Theatre Center box office at 1-717-263-0202. The box office is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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