The legendary Harry James Orchestra – the big band that gave Frank Sinatra his first big break – is coming to Hawai’i to play a benefit for restoration and reopening of the War Memorial Natatorium.
Join us to swing dance — or just to listen — on Sunday, Aug. 11, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Honolulu Elks Lodge. NOTE: ADVANCE TICKET SALES HAVE CLOSED. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR FOR $45.
Since superstar trumpeter Harry James formed the ensemble nearly 75 years ago, the Harry James Orchestra has been one of the world’s great swing bands, with a big, brassy sound built around the trumpet – tight, technically flawless, but with spirit, élan, humor and flair.
Benny Goodman, Betty Grable – and Frank Sinatra
James himself was one of the biggest stars of the era. He played with Benny Goodman before starting his own orchestra. He married Betty Grable at the height of her fame, after they (and Harry’s band!) appeared together in one of her biggest musical hits, Springtime in the Rockies. In all, he made more than a dozen movies and dozens of records.
It’s hard to think of a much more important record, though, than one of the first, All or Nothing at All. Recorded in the orchestra’s first year, 1939, with Frank Sinatra – then making $75 a week as James’ vocalist – the song was re-released a few years later and sold more than a million copies. This is the original recording:
The Harry James Orchestra Today
Harry James died in 1983, but the orchestra lives on under the direction of James’ protege and former principal trumpeter, Fred Radke.
Radke keeps the band true to the James legacy, on the bandstand and off. He considers it a great compliment that his own performing style is often compared with that of Harry James, but he has also built his own distinct and distinguished career as a solo performer, bandleader, educator, composer and arranger, and producer. He has performed on all the major television networks, produced for television and radio and entertained three U.S. presidents.
We’re proud to say that Fred is also the father of Friends of the Natatorium President Mo Radke. And Harry James Orchestra guest vocalist Gina Funes — a distinguished opera and jazz singer in her own right — is Mo’s mother.
This fabulous event is made possible by a generous grant from the Bruce and Jolene McCaw Advised Fund. Mahalo to the McCaws for their support of the Natatorium and Big Band dance fans!
Here are the Details
- What: Music and dancing with the Harry James Orchestra, led by Fred Radke.
- Why: For a blast of a good time! And to support the Friends of the Natatorium’s efforts to preserve, restore and reopen the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.
- When: Sunday, Aug. 11, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
- Where: Honolulu Elks Lodge at 2933 Kalakaua Ave.
- Tickets: ADVANCE TICKET SALES HAVE CLOSED. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR FOR $45.
- Beverages: Will be available for purchase.
- Questions? Call 808-254-1828.