Starlight offers free concert Tuesday

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


It’s a familiar scene in many American living rooms—cue the lights, cue the band, as the multi-colored curtain opens and out steps the late night host for his monologue.

This scene was repeated over and over for 30 years as NBC televised The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It started back in 1954 as Tonight! with Steve Allen as the host.  Then in 1957, Jack Paar took over The Jack Paar Tonight Show.  Carson took the reins in 1962 and remained at the helm until 1992.

Jay Leno hosted from that time until this year, when he stepped down to make way for
Conan O’Brien.

During all these transitions, music was, and continues to be, an integral part of the show.

The Tonight Show Band’s members came from such highly-acclaimed bands as Count
Basie and Duke Ellington.

They opted for recognizable tunes but hired the best arrangers in modern big band jazz to give them a unique take on each selection. Some of those arrangements even won Grammy awards.

Carson himself was a fan of big band music and he carved out time for the band to play full tunes, something that rarely happens on today’s late night shows.

The arrangements the Tonight Show Band made famous finally became available in 2008
and it sparked the idea for Starlight’s Big Band to play a tribute concert.

“It’s exciting to play music that is central to jazz, and is as well-known and well-loved as these selections,” said Scott Senter, Starlight’s Jazz Director.

Starlight’s Big Band will pay tribute to the Tonight Show Band in a free concert on Tuesday, July 21 at 8pm.

The concert will take place at the River West Festival Park, 2100 South Jackson.

“From Steve Allen through Johnny Carson, you will hear the big band sounds of Doc
Severinsen, Tommy Newsom and many more.

Local legendary vocalist Pam Van Dyke will be singing, and an exciting new Tulsa pianist, Jeff Newsome, with his band ‘Green Group’ will provide the intermission entertainment,” said Senter.

Some of the evening’s tunes will include The Tonight Show Theme, Saint Louis Blues, Bugle Call Rag and The Tonight Show arrangement of In the Mood.

The evening is dedicated to all the individual donors who gave to Starlight in 2009 and who help to keep the concerts free and open to the public.

Starlight will be hosting its annual silent auction, which also helps raise funds to produce the concerts. Those wishing to bid on prizes should bring cash or a checkbook.

Guarantor sponsors for the 2009 season include the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Treeman Family Foundation, in honor of Jeff Treeman.

Other major sponsors include: Cedar Creek, Circle Cinema, Creative State, Liberty Press, Local 94: American Federation of Musicians, the Music Performance Trust Fund, Public Radio Tulsa: KWGS/KWTU, Saied Music Company and The Jimmie & Helen Saied Foundation, Tulsa River Parks Authority, Universal Combustion Corporation, Waters Charitable Foundation and The Charles & Marion Weber Foundation in memory of Dr. Charles E. and Marion L. Weber.

For more information about Starlight Concerts, go online to or call 798-STAR (7827).

Mark Your Calendars. Starlight’s Free concert “Tribute to the Tonight Show Band” will be held Tues., July 21st at 8pm.  The concert will take place at the River West Festival Park, 2100 South Jackson.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 July 2009 )