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About the Compaq Big Band

The Compaq Big Band showcases the power of 14 horns, a cookin' rhythm section, great vocalists, and terrific instrumental soloists for a diverse range of clients and events across the Greater Boston, Greater Worcester, Rhode Island, and Southern New Hampshire regions.

For swing dances, the band provides a great night for dancers of all abilities, our set lists honed from countless Boston public and educational institution swing club events over the years. But we also have a broader repertoire of titles that round out traditional swing with ballads, foxtrots, Latin tempos, and more, providing the perfect dance accompaniment to functions, celebrations, and fundraisers of any type.

The Compaq Big Band excels in concert and nightclub settings with a balanced selection of both familiar and progressive jazz charts. Music selections for our gigs come from an extensive sheet music library of well over 2,000 hardcopy and scanned titles. We are constantly purchasing new music as it becomes published, and both new and archived titles are integrated into the band's gig books on a continual basis.

Although we are far from the traditional wedding band that can morph from swing to pop, to Top 40, to country, to disco, to polka, or whatever, we provide a stylish and impressive addition to those wedding receptions where a full 19-piece big band, all dressed in tuxedos, is what the bride and groom want to create a memorable atmosphere for their important milestone. We work with brides, grooms, wedding planners, and facility managers to program quiet jazz, classics of the Great American Songbook, slow dances, and up-tempo swing from our repertoire, then complement that with handheld device-based prepared commercial music mixes of any type on band breaks.

There are a lot of great jazz trios, quartets, and other small groups in New England, and several very talented "pocket big bands" that usually range from 8 to 10 pieces. But there's no substitute for the sound of lush, full, authentic big band instrumentation. Some bands bill themselves as carrying as many pieces as you want or can pay for, adding players from a call list to a familiar core of musicians on an infrequent basis. The Compaq Big Band has - and always will - perform as the same 19-piece unit, gig in and gig out. We believe this provides a product of consistently high quality to our clients and audiences. To hone our skills and master challenging big band literature, the band rehearses weekly the entire calendar year, something you may not find with other groups.

But high quality execution of great charts is nothing if you don't have a good sound system and talented sound engineer. A cornerstone of the Compaq Big Band's operating strategy is our very significant investment in a high end, state-of-the-art sound reinforcement system. We have: Wireless microphoness; Shure hardwired microphones for every instrument; a state-of-the-art digital Allen & Heath Qu-32 mixing console; Turbosound subwoofers, main speakers, and monitors; and, QSC amplifiers.

This system provides a clear, crisp, natural, well-balanced sound to the dancer an d listener - not "thuddy," loud, ear-shattering, and overpowering. And, it can be set up and torn down in surprisingly little time.

To make sure all this high-tech gear makes us sound "just right," we have a full-time sound engineer who has mixed for us for many years. He does this sitting at a mixing board out in the venue and adjusts the mix according to band volume, soloists, and changing ambient noise in the room - not from sitting with the band on stage where it is impossible to hear what the audience hears. If all that's necessary in a small room is to have the band basically "unplugged," that's what you get... minimal amplification. If you have a wide open venue, we have the capability to turn up the system and reach hundreds of people.

Yet all of this experience and professionalism are surprisingly affordable. The Compaq Big Band has operated with a nonprofit philosophy since its inception, and a large part of its past and current gig history is working with civic, nonprofit, and charitable organizations on dinner-dances and other fundraising events. Our regular members have various day jobs, and come together to celebrate big band music as a passionate hobby. It's the only way we have been able to preserve and promote this great American music genre. After our basic costs are covered, remaining money from band fees goes to pay professional substitute musicians, maintain and upgrade electronics and other infrastructure, purchase new sheet music, publicity, shirts and ties, produce CDs, tour, and cover other day-to-day operating expenses. The band is happy to provide potential clients with a complimentary copy of their first professional CD "Bandwidth" (now on its second pressing), which is played on jazz radio stations in New England, and across the United Kingdom on BBC2. We would also be happy to provide you with references from past and present clients.

Take a look at the Compaq Big Band's resume of clients, events, and venues in the New England area over the years, and our experiences such touring Great Britain in the summer of 2006, and both producing and opening shows for Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band in 2007 and 2008. We have confidence that with our diverse music library, non-profit operating philosophy, complete high-end sound reinforcement system, and highly experienced sound engineer, we can work with you to provide your clients and guests with a memorable big band experience at an affordable price. The Compaq Big Band is a New Hampshire Non-Profit Corporation and a 501(c)4 federal tax exempt organization. Our Employer Identification Number (EIN) is available to all clients.



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