The Rhythm-Airs perform Saturday at St. Luke’s

The Rhythm-Airs, a 17-piece orchestra that plays a wide array of Swing Era favorites, will perform for dancers from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 5402 W. Genesee St., in Camillus.

The big band will headline the church’s seasonal celebration, Swing Into Spring. Admission costs $25 per couple or $15 for singles; snacks and punch will be provided. Concert goers are encouraged to BYOB; 487-1771.

For many years, the Rhythm-Airs have been the regular Wednesday-night feature at McNamara’s Pub on Newport Road, but starting June 6 the band will move its Hump Day dances to the Solvay Moose Club on Milton Avenue.

Led by trumpeter Maureen Clum, the Rhythm-Airs have twice been featured on the main stage at the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival in downtown Syracuse. The orchestra, comprised of local amateur and professional local musicians, got its start in the late 1970s in Liverpool, and has played long-running regular weekly gigs in Armory Square, Baldwinsville and Camillus.

Clum’s brass talents are showcased on tunes such as Clyde McCoy’s “Sugar Blues,” while vocalist Augie Simonetta channels Sinatra on “Night & Day” and Darin on “Mack the Knife.”

Pianist Mimi Osmun regularly performs a gravel-voiced imitation of Louis Armstrong on “Hello Dolly.” The orchestra’s entire horn section often adds its voices to Glenn Miller’s “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”

Syracuse guitarist Harvey Nusbaum, who has often subbed with the Rhythm-Airs, says the musicians have a special feel for their repertoire.

“Many of the members were playing swing when swing was the king of popular music,” Nusbaum observed. “So they’re not a revival band. They're playing what they know and what they’ve always played. The Rhythm-Airs are not to be missed.”

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