Buzzards Bay Musicfest returns for 24th year with Swing Band jazz concert

Jul 8, 2021

MARION — The 24th Annual Buzzards Bay Music Festival looked a little different this year, as organizers were forced to cancel its orchestral and chamber music events. But the BBMF Swing Band sounded as good as ever during the jazz concert on Thursday, July 7.

The ten-piece swing band was led by trombonist Phil Sanborn and featured a setlist of jazzy arrangements of Broadway hits like selections from Paul McCartney’s “Beatlemania,” Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “Hello Dolly,” and a clever reimagining of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music in 5/4 time arranged by the band’s piano player, Matt Richard.

“This is one of the best jazz ensembles,” said Fred Rober who attended the concert and said he’s been coming to the shows for years. “They really came together and played together well.”

Sanborn said that because of the pandemic, the music festival had to be changed significantly this year, making this a particularly difficult show to put on.

Usually the orchestra and chamber groups are made up of a significant number of non-local musicians who fly in from around the country and are hosted by local families during their stays. However, that seemed like too much of an imposition this year, according to Sanborn, so only the local swing band was available.

The concert also had to be moved from its usual venue at Tabor Academy to an outdoor setting at the Robert O. Broomhead Bandstand at Island Wharf in Marion.

Still, Sanborn said, “It went as well as can be expected,” given it was “a little bit tougher this year.”

But Marion residents who have had few chances to take in live music for over a year didn’t seem to mind the changes.

“It’s wonderful!” said Madeline Cooke, a Marion resident who said she’d been coming to the Buzzards Bay Musicfest since the very beginning. “It’s live — we haven’t had live music since before covid.”

Marcus Monteiro, a Marion resident and lead of local band the MonteiroBots, performed in the swing band for the first time, playing lead alto saxophone.

“It’s awesome,” he said of the experience. “I know all these people from playing gigs around, but playing in my home town is great.”