Swing and Sway News

Rocky River High School

The Sammy Kaye Orchestra is scheduled to perform on October 26, 2002 at Sammy Kaye’s alma mater, Rocky River High School, in his boyhood hometown of Rocky River, Ohio. Robin Reinbold, President of the Rocky River HS alumni association, and the members of board are proud to  salute Rocky River's most famous son, who was born Samuel William Zarnocay on March 13, 1910. Roger Thorpe, director of the orchestra and Sammy’s lead trumpet player and close personal friend for 17 years, will also give a short clinic with the orchestra for the music students before the show. For more information call Robin Reinbold at (440) 356-6702.

Lets Dance!!

Ballroom dancers are looking forward to two wonderful ballroom dancing weekends coming  up in December 2002 and January 2003. The big reason for their joy is that the Sammy Kaye Orchestra will be the featured “Big Name Band” at each weekend!

The first weekend will be December 6-8 at the famous Lake Mohonk Mountain House resort, located 70 miles north of New York City on the top of the Shawangunk Mountain in New Paltz, NY. There will be three orchestras and dance instruction for all levels and all types of dances. Visit Mohonk’s own website at www.mohonk.com to see this beautiful resort. The Sammy Kaye Orchestra will be featured on Saturday December 7, 2002.  Call Amy Sherwood at (845) 256-2075 for more information.

The second ballroom weekend will be at the magnificent Grove Park Inn resort spa in Ashville, NC. This beautiful resort, nestled in the western North Carolina mountains, will have its Ballroom/Swing weekend on January 24-26, 2003. The Sammy Kaye Orchestra will perform on Saturday January 25, 2003 from 8:30-12:30. There will be instructors available during the weekend.  For reservations and information, call  (800) 438-5800 or go to their website at www.grovepark.com.

The New Cruise News

Yes, the good news is that the Delta Steamboat Company is back in business and will be resuming the Big Band Theme Cruises in 2003. The Sammy Kaye Orchestra is scheduled to be on the American Queen January 18-22, 2003, embarking in New Orleans and debarking in Vicksburg,MS.  On February 10, the Orchestra will board the Mississippi Queen in New Orleans and arrive in Natchez, MS on February 13, where they will immediately embark on the American Queen for the return trip to New Orleans, arriving there on  February 15.  The Sammy Kaye Orchestra will be ocean cruising again in November 2003 aboard the new Holland America Line ship, the ms Oosterdam. The fourteen day cruise will begin in Lisbon, Portugal and end in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Check with the Holland America Line or your travel agent for more details on this exciting Swing and Sway Cruise with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra!!!

Back to Florida in 2003

The Sammy Kaye Orchestra will again be back in Florida for many exciting dances and shows in February and March, 2003. Please watch our performance schedule for all our new dates that include Florida and elsewhere in the United States that you may be able to attend.

Older News


As the year 2001 draws to a close, I am happy to report that the Sammy Kaye Orchestra has had another successful and exciting year! All of our fans will be glad to hear that all of our Sammy Kaye musicians are well and still performing with the exception of our saxophonist, Tom Martino, who has retired from the orchestra to pursue new goals in music. We wish him the very best. Don Maiolo, who hails from Vestal, NY, has assumed the lead Alto Saxophone position and continues to be the general manager of the orchestra as well.

Lenny Hartzell and young friend, Nia Vincent, in Hawaii All of our fans undoubtedly want to know how Lenny Hartzell is doing. “Lenny the Legend” is just fine and continues to hold down the Baritone/AltoSaxophone/Clarinet position in the orchestra. He celebrated his 85th birthday this past August!

Ray Lamare and Karina CalabroOur Swing and Sway singers, Ray Lamare and Karina Calabro, continue to charm our audiences with their beautiful renditions of Sammy Kaye arrangements, either as singles, duets, or as trios with the Kaydets. This spring, Ray marked his tenth year as “Boy Singer” with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra. This was the same length of time that the most popular singer of the orchestra, Don Cornell, was with the orchestra (1941-1951.) We are happy to say that Ray will not be retiring after this tenth anniversary.

Karina Calabro, besides being the “Girl Singer” with the Swing and Sway Orchestra, continues to pursue her operatic career with great love and enthusiasm. That is, when she is not on the road or cruise ship with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra. Karina has now been with the orchestra for 8 years. Her main hobby when not singing is ballroom dancing.

Al Hamme, who hails from Binghamton, NY, has retired as professor of Jazz Studies at SUNY-Binghamton to assume the duties of Lead/Jazz tenor saxophonist in the orchestra. We welcome his enormous talent and kind disposition.

Doug Sertle, well known New York studio musician and Conn Trombone artist/clinician has been sharing the demanding lead trombone book with Joe Lane, trombonist from Orlando, Florida.

What's New Musically

What's new musically is really an oxymoron for Big Band buffs. They just want to hear faithful performances of their old favorites. We leave the “new music” for the “artists” of the now generation, but we have added some “new” arrangements to the nearly 200 great Sammy Kaye standards that we perform with the orchestra. There is seldom an original Sammy Kaye hit that we cannot play for an inquiring fan. One of our new arrangements is Atlanta, GA, recorded in 1945 for RCA Victor and added to the current repertoire when we were asked to play for the Cracker Barrel Nascar races held in Atlanta this past spring. You can imagine the surprise on the faces of the audience when we announced a special Sammy Kaye hit just for the folks in Atlanta, GA.! The Umbrella Man is one of the Sammy Kaye gold nuggets, recorded November 30, 1938 in New York on a Victor Label. It was sung by the Three Barons with the Kaye choir in the background. When Blue Baron and his orchestra came onto the Big Band scene, Sammy wisely renamed his singing group the Kayedets which still remains till this day. For the Polka lovers, we have added Frank Loesser’s big hit from the 50’s, Just Another Polka featuring the Kaydets. And finally for some emphasis on the Swing of Swing and Sway, we have added Opus One. Opus One was a big instrumental hit for Tommy Dorsey and we decided to do a vocal rendition with the original words because they mention Sammy Kaye. The arrangement was made for us by George Winslow, who was a member of the orchestra from the early fifties until he retired as chief arranger and saxophonist in the early seventies. George still writes our special arrangements in the true Sammy Kaye style. We will do a feature on George Winslow in the future.

Travel News

S.S. IndependenceThe Sammy Kaye Orchestra will be Swinging and Swaying in Hawaii on the United States Line S.S. Independence the first two weeks of December. We have been featured on the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Cruise since 1991. The first week is from December 2 thru the 7 and the second week is from December 8 thru the 15th. You may not know this, but Sammy Kaye wrote Remember Pearl Harbor just hours after his radio show, Sunday Serenade, was interrupted by the news that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. This delightful cruise takes you to all of the main islands with stops during the day and great entertainment at night... which of course includes the Sammy Kaye Orchestra. See your travel agent for more details and join us in Hawaii!!!

If you are looking for something different in cruising, then try a steamboating adventure on the beautiful rivers of America. Cruise from 3-7 days on the Mississippi Queen or the American Queen with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra on a Big Band Theme cruise where you can Swing and Sway the nights away on an authentic paddle wheel steamboat. Call the Delta Queen Steamboat Company at (800) 543-7637 or see your travel agent.

We are all very excited about our first transatlantic cruise April 8-24 on the new Holland America cruise ship MS Amsterdam. The Big Band Theme for this cruise is called Spring Transatlantic Fling with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra. Board the ship in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra through the Atlantic crossing with stops in the Bahamas, Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar, Naples and ending in Rome!! Call Holland America at 1-877-SAIL-HAL and tell them you want to Swing and Sway with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra directed by Roger Thorpe in April. I Hope you have enjoyed this newsletter and will visit our other links on this Web site. To see where we will be in the future, just go to engagements 2001.

Karina Calabro and band leader, Roger ThorpeSee you from the bandstand...
Roger Thorpe
Director, Sammy Kaye Orchestra
To Book the Orchestra call 845-255-1944