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On Stage At Kingsborough is a performing arts organization located in Southern Brooklyn that is dedicated to presenting live performances to audiences of all ages. The non-profit company recently announced the lineup of their 2017 HOT SUMMER NIGHTS! Free Outdoor Concert Series that will take place in Brooklyn, New York.

This year, swing dancing is a staple of the series which begins on July 1 and runs through to July 22. Among the featured artists will be The Rob Stoneback Big Band, Wycliffe Gordon and His International All Stars, Dan Levinson’s Gotham Sophisticats and Swingadelic. All the concerts will be performed at Kingsborough’s Lighthouse Bandshell and all shows begin at 8:00 pm.

The Executive Director of the organization, Anna Becker, recently discussed the “Hot Summer Nights!” series and it's healthy and interactive dance and music schedule in an exclusive Interview.

Performances

Blasting News (BN): How did you establish "Hot Summer Nights!" and how do you find your performers?

Anna Becker (AB): While I would like to take credit for this wonderful free outdoor concert series, there actually is a long tradition of seaside concerts that even predates the establishment of the College itself. In fact, Danny Kaye got his start at what was then called The Rainbow Bandshell. I am honored to be able to continue the tradition with emerging artists like Danny Kaye once was, as well as established musicians. We’ve presented many artists and groups in their early years that have since exploded on the scene – The Hot Sardines and Bria Skonberg just to name a few.

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Finding performers is one of the highlights of my job! I find the performers for this series by going out and listening to a lot of music. I frequent many of the clubs in New York City and also travel to festivals and conferences.

BN: What has your experience with the series been like and what kind of feedback have you heard from attendees?

AB: We really look forward to this series every summer. The location – by the ocean and in the shadow of our lighthouse – is just so lovely and there’s such a great breeze coming off the water that it makes for a really special summer evening. The performers love the location and our audience so much that they really have a wonderful time and put on a great show. The feedback from our attendees just keeps getting better and better and the size of the crowd continues to grow. Everyone loves that we clear a spot for dancing and they enjoy being able to arrive an hour ahead of the concert to picnic and just hang out. Most of all, they really appreciate that the music is not only world-class but that it’s also very joyful jazz.

Many come out every week for the entire series.

BN: What prompted you to create a swing series for the month of July?

AB: This is a very special and swingin’ line-up this summer! Oftentimes for this Series, we will present a wide range of jazz styles over the course of the Series, but this year it just felt right to present all four of these amazing swing artists together on a bill. We could all use some good old-fashioned and joyful dancing music right about now.

BN: Have audiences responded especially well to concerts that encourage dance and participation?

AB: Absolutely. We have audience members from age 3 to 103 (really!) on the dance floor. It is so great to see so many generations enjoying the music. We’ve had some artists do a sing-along as well – once it was a Russian sing-along – and the audience really goes for that too. Our audience tends to know the music and they are glad to have a chance to join in.

Dance

BN: All the concerts fit under the genre of 'swing,' but how is each one different?

AB: I might do better by starting with how they all are similar. These artists are all leaders in the field. They’re known and acclaimed for their skill and virtuosity. They each have a deep passion for their music and a joyousness in their delivery. As far as differences, each of these four concerts will actually be quite different. The vocal styles, song selection, and overarching themes of each concert run the gamut of swing. We’ll be swingin’ like Louis, we’ll be swingin’ like Fred and Ginger, and of course, we’ll swing like Frank and Dean…we’re even re-imagining how to swing like a Yankee Doodle Dandy! Ultimately, I think we’ll get to see just how broad a genre Swing can be.

BN: What is going on for August and September?

AB: In August, tickets will go on sale for our 2017-2018 season, which begins September 15, 2017. Although we haven’t announced yet, let’s just say that Hot Summer Nights concert-goers will be thrilled with our opening presentation on September 15.

BN: Can bands and performers reach out to you about possibly partaking next year?

AB: Artists reach out to me all the time and I have found some excellent performers that way. The best thing is for me to receive information about where they are playing so that I can go see them.

BN: Is there anything more that you would like to mention?

AB: Since I mentioned our 2017-2018 season, perhaps folks would like to know that, from September to May, we present world-class dance, theater, and music on our main stage, as well as jazz in our intimate nightclub which is actually inside a modern, working lighthouse. Past performers have included Chita Rivera, The State Ballet Theater of Russia, Forever Tango, Loston Harris, Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire, Christine Ebersole, Noche Flamenca, and much more.

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The HOT SUMMER NIGHTS! Free Outdoor Concert Series runs between July 1 to July 22, 2017. To learn more, visit the official website, Facebook and Twitter of On Stage at Kingsborough.