The Cleveland TOPS Swingband has it's roots in a concert at the A. M. McGregor Home in 2003, one of many such events created and directed by a retired-but then-still-active Cleveland musical legend, Vince Patti. Vince brought together a seventeen-piece big band of mostly retired professional musicians, Cleveland area all-stars really, with varied solid credentials, from dance bands to theater pit orchestras and the Cleveland Orchestra. It was a huge success both for the elderly audience and their helpers but also for the musicians who, almost to a man, ended the concert almost unwillingly...they talked about how there should be more chances to get together and be a part of the great experience such a band of "pros" provides. And so now, after some time, ruminating, wishing, thought, procrastination and effort, comes our new band. Our focus is on three ideas:
1. We intend to serve that huge audience of people who remember and love the great fun and excitement that only a fine big band, playing the great, familiar repertoire, can provide.
2. Just rehearsing and playing together is a source of musical joy that can only be found in a big band where all the players can really SWING in the wonderful traditional sense!
3. We need to generate enough income to cover expenses.
The principal originators: Dick Wooley, Trombone, Arranger and Music Director Emeritus. Dick came to Cleveland in the 1950's as a music teacher in the Shaker Heights schools and band director at the then Case Tech. A player, arranger and conductor, he became a composer/producer of music for broadcast commercials (think "Patio Enclosures"), TV and films. He spent several years creating music for Sea World's shows and exhibits. He was a long-term fixture in Cleveland theater orchestra pits and recently resumed playing trombone after a twenty-five year health-induced "intermission." He stepped down as Music Director and CEO on July 10, 2012.
Joe Trzcinski, Lead trumpet and personnel director, has an impressive list of accomplishments as a working musician and trumpet teacher. His earliest professional experience was with the band at West Point, continued in Cleveland at Musicarnival, Front Row (lead trumpet and musician contractor), various area bands and tours with the Liberace Orchestra.