Make Big Band Great Again!

No, that’s not a political statement. I learned long ago not to include references to politics, religion or sex in public discourse. I’m just emphasizing that in addition to enjoying the camaraderie of meeting with old musical friends, playing great mu-sic together and having an overall great time at our reunions, we are also taking part in the worthy endeavor of reliving and reviving some of the greatest music ever known.

Of the 50 consecutive reunions I’ve attended, this was by far the very best!

I begin this, my first epistle of course, with kudos to all who worked so hard to make our 2017 AKAA Reunion such a success.


To our esteemed immediate Past President, Woody Leonard: “Hail To The Chief.”

To our supremely competent Reunion Coordinator, John Norton: “Nobody Does It Better.”

To our Era Band Coordinators, Wade Johnson, Fritz Siler, Steve Means, Jay Owens and yours truly: “Thanks For The Memories.”

To the hard-working and extremely talented members of the cur-rent Auburn Knights Orchestra: “Alright, OK, You Win.”

To all the band players and soloists, singers, volunteers, officers, board members, Jazz Brunch and Matinee Band leaders and participants, dues-paying members and associate members, Silent Auction contributors, vendors and especially the hundreds of concert attendees: “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”


Now we begin planning for the 2018 Reunion! As era band coor-dinators search for just the right charts and line up their band personnel, players constantly revive their chops and singers work on “just the right key,” we need some participation from you!

I know that at some time each of you has said, “That was a great reunion, but if only we’d …,” or “I’d attend the reunions if only they’d …” or “I’d love to participate more as a …, but nobody’s asked me..

If you have ideas or suggestions on how to “Make Big Band Great Again” or, more specifically, how to make the AKAA Re-unions greater, please let us know! I’ll share your responses among the officers and we’ll take them under consideration. Who knows? You might be invited to share your ideas with the Board of Directors at their next meeting in February!

You may email me at “” with suggestions.
Until next time, Long Live The Knights!

Richard Garrett, AKAA President

The most extraordinary moment came towards the end of the week!



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