The Riverboat Ramblers - Dixieland Band

 

&

 

Big Dog & The Fat Cats - Swing Band


The Riverboat Ramblers
Dixieland Band

(l to r) Nick Romantini, Bill Bondurant, Norman Olmstead, Don Hall, Harry Doss, Shannon Magenheimer, John Gregg, Russell Shock, Ed Schwartz, Jennifer Jablonski.


Big Dog & The Fat Cats
Swing Band

(Back Row, l to r) Harry Doss, Norman Olmstead, Nick Romantini;
(Front Row, l to r) Jennifer Jablonski, Ed Schwartz, Don Hall, John Gregg, Russell Shock.


Contact: E-mail to ed.schwartz@vt.edu - (540) 382-3707



General Description:
The Riverboat Ramblers Dixieland Band and Big Dog and the Fat Cats Swing Band are available on a limited basis to play any type of musical engagement in the New River Valley/Roanoke Valley areas (or beyond at a higher rate) as outlined below. The Riverboat Ramblers play traditional jazz music, with a range of traditonal Dixieland music from the earliest days of jazz to some of the most contemporary jazz standards. Thanks to the resurgence of Big Band swing, many of the old tunes have become new to young audiences so the band can perform swing and ballroom dance jobs under the name of Big Dog & The Fat Cats..

From a list of music that spans over 100 years of jazz, the group is comfortable in all jazz genre. Well known songs like 'When the Saints go Marching In,' are mixed with the big band standards of 'Satin Doll' and contemporary swing numbers such as 'Zoot Suit Riot.' The band also performs all of the ballroom dance styles to include Cha Cha, Bossa Nova, Tango, Samba, Waltz, Polka, and Light Rock to name a few.

The band consists of a minimum of six members and provides a number of free services:

  1. public address system to provide background music between sets;
  2. special show activities;
  3. optional song book. The details of these services and other information are outlined below.

[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]


Current Members

The Riverboat Ramblers

Big Dog & The Fat Cats

Slide Trombone/Leader
Ed Schwartz (Christiansburg)
Trumpet
John Gregg (Blacksburg)
Don Hall (Radford)
Russell Shock (Christiansburg)
Saxophone
Ralph Brown (Floyd)
Clarinet
Bill Bondurant (Radford)
Drums
Norman Olmstead (Blacksburg)
Guitar
Harry Doss (Blacksburg)
Bass
Nick Romantini (Blacksburg)
Vocals
Shannon Magenheimer (Blacksburg)
Trombone/Leader
Ed Schwartz (Christiansburg)
Trumpet
John Gregg (Blacksburg)
Don Hall (Radford)
Russell Shock (Christiansburg)
Saxophone
Ralph Brown (Floyd)
Drums
Norman Olmstead (Blacksburg)
Guitar
Harry Doss (Blacksburg)
Bass
Nick Romantini (Blacksburg)
Vocals
Shannon Magenheimer (Blacksburg)

[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]

Specifications
The rates include a minimum of six musicians that will play authentic Dixieland style music (and/or contemporary swing jazz styles of music) in traditional Dixieland style costumes (or other dress such as swing outfits or semi-formal). The band specializes in the performance of traditional Dixieland favorites such as Basin Street Blues, Bill Bailey (Won't You Please Come Home), St. James Infirmary, and When the Saints Go Marchin' In and Dixieland Funerals. A standard song list is available on request.

A public address system can be provided at no extra cost that would provide continuous background music of Dixieland/Swing favorites. A word book (4-1/4" by 5-1/2") can be specially created for your event with lyrics to many of the popular songs that the band will play, along with a concise history of Dixieland music. Examples of the Song Book are available on request. For a special touch to any event, the band can provide sing-along activities, recreate a Dixieland Funeral and perform in the popular Dixieland Walk-Around.

[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]


Type of Commitment:

[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]


Physical Requirements:

[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]


Instrumentation:
[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]

Special Notes:

  1. The band is open to play a limited number of one-hour benefit performances per year as the schedule permits.
  2. The band is open to play a limited number of community concerts (i.e. summer concerts) at a lower rate as the schedule permits.

(top l to r) Norman Olmstead, Ed Schwartz, John Gregg, David Hall, Harry Doss;
(bottom l to r) Russell Shock, Bill Bondurant, Nick Romantini, Don Hall.


[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]

Press Release

Ramblers At the Pulaski Depot in 1997

(top l to r) Dan Conway, Harry Doss, Norman Olmstead,
Bob Langford, Jennifer Jablonski, Ed Schwartz;
(bottom l to r) Russell Shock, Don Hall, John Gregg

The Riverboat Ramblers keep New River audiences swingin' and dancin'

What do a ballroom dance, a Mardi Gras celebration, a swing dance, a jazz concert and a New Orleans Dixieland funeral have in common? They are all events where you will hear the Riverboat Ramblers Band keeping the sounds of jazz alive in the New River Valley.

Snagging new jazz fans and earning rave spectator reviews at each performance, the Ramblers perform regularly at festivals, fairs, dances, parties and gatherings throughout the year.

"I was floored to find out a talented group like this existed in the New River Valley. I thought you could only hear music like this, of this quality, in cities," said Benjamin Lieb of Blacksburg, who hear the group at a swing dance in Blacksburg.

The Riverboat Ramblers is a band based in the New River Valley, and it features some of the best regional musicians. The band includes John Gregg (Blacksburg), Don Hall (Radford), and Russell Shock (Blacksburg) on trumpet, Jennifer Jablonski (Blacksburg) on saxophone, Bill Bondurant (Radford) and David Hall (Radford) on clarinet, Norman Olmstead (Blacksburg) on drums, Harry Doss (Blacksburg) on Guitar and Nick Romantini (Blacksburg) on bass. The founder and leader of the band is Ed Schwartz (Christiansburg), who plays slide trombone in the group.

The Ramblers play traditional jazz music, with a range of traditonal Dixieland music from the earliest days of jazz to some of the most contemporary jazz standards. Thanks to the resurgence of Big Band swing, many of the old tunes have become new to young audiences.

The band also plays a wide range of dance rhythms, from the latin beat of the Bossa Nova, Cha Cha and Tango, to the ballroom dance styles of the waltz, ballad and foxtrot, to the straight-swing dance beats of yesterday and today, along with other unique styles such as the polka.

Band leader Schwartz says, "We love the chance to play a range of jazz styles. Even though our list of music spans over 100 years of jazz and ranges from 'When the Saints go Marching In,' to 'Satin Doll' to 'Zoot Suit Riot,' we still try to touch the audience with our personal signature sound to bring back old memories and create some new ones."

Indeed, the diversity of the band provides a rich palette from which to create a particular mood or atmosphere. A ballroom dance, a Mardi Gras celebration, a swing dance, a jazz concert or a New Orleans Dixieland funeral are all within the scope of this unique group.

The Ramblers can appear in a range of dress, including formal, semi-formal, casual and authentic Dixieland dress, depending on the event. Concerts or shows often include the re-creation of a traditional New Orleans funeral ceremony and march-around.

To inquire about booking the Riverboat Ramblers for your event, call Ed Schwartz at 540-382-3707 or e-mail him at ed.schwartz@vt.edu. Visit the Ramblers' web page at: http://arts.bev.net/RiveboatRamblers/


The Ramblers at Mountain Lake Hotel in 1993

(top l to r) Ed Schwartz, Norman Olmstead, Don Hall, Bob Thomas, John Gregg;
(bottom l to r) Bill Nye, Harry Doss, Sally Walker, Russell Shock.


The Ramblers at the Donalson Brown Hotel in 1989

(top l to r) Ed Schwartz, , John Gregg, Carter Edmondson,
Bill Bondurant;
(middle l to r) Harry Doss, Sally Walker, Bob Thomas;
(bottom l to r) Norman Olmstead, Kathy Duncan.

The Riverboat Ramblers Keep Our American Heritage Alive with Dixieland Music

Sounds of the American Dixieland jazz tradition are alive in Southwest Virginia with the traditional Dixieland music of the Riverboat Ramblers. The band performs regularly at festivals, fairs, dances and gatherings throughout the year.

he group plays all types of traditional Dixieland music with a mix of the most commonly known melodies and some of the lesser known music of the period. Schwartz states, "We enjoy playing all of the Dixieland styles and some of the lesser known songs offer a refreshing change from those songs we play all the time. It is difficult to play a concert without the audience wanting 'When the Saints go Marching In,' but most of our favorites are not that well known."

Indeed, Dixieland songs are not always well known by title or composer, but many of the melodies do sound familiar to the audience. In fact many of the old sing-along songs were from the Dixieland era, songs like "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey," "When You're Smiling," and "Sweet Georgia Brown." Other blues songs like "Basin Street Blues" and "St. James Infirmary" focused on the lifestyles of that period in our history. Schwartz says, "Dixieland music is one of the few true American music forms. Getting its roots from African rhythms and European folk harmonies, it is a synthesis of many popular styles. Our band tries to stay true to the spirit and style of the music yet add a modern approach to keep the interest of today's audience. It is important to us to do our part in preserving this part of our American musical heritage."

The music played by the Riverboat Ramblers features many of the old Dixieland favorites that include the ragtime and blues styles. Their performance is in authentic dress and often includes the re-creation of a traditional New Orleans funeral ceremony and standard walk-around.


[Index] [General Description] [Current Members] [Specifications] [Type of Commitment]
[Physical Requirements] [Instrumentation] [Special Notes] [Press Release]