Count Basie Orchestra returning to Arlee stage
Deener to be guest vocalist
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MASON CITY — London, Bucharest, Milan, Luzern,
Moscow, Singapore, Tokyo and Mason City. In the past year, the
legendary Count Basie Orchestra has toured worldwide, and one of
their next stops will be at the historic Arlee Theater in Mason
The Arlee will host the Count Basie Orchestra at 7 p.m. April 25.
Local singing celebrity Patti Deener will be the guest vocalist.
The band played to a sold-out crowd at the Arlee seven years ago
and returned to another enthusiastic crowd the following year.
When the news broke that the Count Basie Orchestra was coming to
Mason City, Bill and Jean Gossett of Lincoln were among the first to
buy advance tickets.
"This is a great opportunity to see a nationally known music
organization and experience the big-band era," Bill Gossett said.
"It's a big thing."
The Gossetts enjoyed the previous Basie shows at the Arlee.
"We had a big time," Gossett said. "An opportunity to see a band
of that caliber in central Illinois is pretty rare. And it's not
cheap to bring such a band in. It represents a commitment of the
Arlee to expose people to the music of that era. Jazz was a very big
part of the musical scene, and the genre is not dead."
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Count Basie's career took off in the Roaring '20s as a jazz pianist
in Kansas City. He soon went from pianist to bandleader. His
orchestra epitomized swing and broadly influenced jazz. Basie's
first chart entry, "One O'Clock Jump," became the band's theme song
and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Despite half a
century of changing tastes in popular music, the endurance of the
Count Basie Orchestra confirms the genius of his earliest musical
Count Basie died in 1984, but his band lives on, now directed by
Scotty Barnhart. The Count Basie Orchestra of today is a group
committed to upholding and advancing this "American institution."
Some members are new, yet sound still swings from some musicians
handpicked by Count Basie himself. The renowned orchestra has won 18
Grammy Awards and 20 Downbeat and Jazz Times polls, more than any
other big band in jazz.
Tickets can be purchased for $35 at the Arlee or City Hall in
Mason City during business hours, or by sending a check and SASE to
the Arlee at 139 S. Main, Mason City, IL 62664. For more
information, call 217-691-7229 or 217-482-9999.
[Text from file received from