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About Big Night Out

THE BAND

Big Night Out is a variety dance band which performs Latin, R&B and Island dance music. A powerful horn section and grooving conga add to the commanding vocals of Joni Adno. Big Night Out, over the past 17 years, has become one of southwest Florida’s most in demand dance bands. The band’s lineup includes the area’s top musicians. Big Night Out has performed at large and small venues, weddings, conventions, house parties, gala’ and conventions, neighborhood block parties, large concerts and anywhere there’s a need  lively variety party music!

PRESS

The Weekly Planet
The Weekly Planet voted Big Night Out Best Bilingual Cover Band and had this to say about the band... The idea of a creative cover band may sound ridiculous. Most such bands simply crank out tunes as close to the originals as possible. Big Night Out, however, earns this award because the band filters James Brown and the Isley Brothers through its own sound, a combination of Latin dance rhythms and funked up horns. Lead singer, Frank Alvarez splits his time between actually delivering the vocals in English and Spanish and dancing around the stage, leading the crowd as it happily floods the dance floor. The band behind him is simply top notch. A guaranteed fun night out.

 

The Sarasota Herald Tribune
Latin-flavored collective Big Night Out could easily be called the Sarasota All Stars. All seven members are in other well known area bands. Get in the Conga line for the groups free FridayFest on the bay outside the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.“We've done Tropical Heatwave before,” trombonist Bruce Glasberg said, “but this will probably be our biggest show and we're very excited about it. We're working on a lot of new music for it.” Actually they perform old music, but with a twist. They take less-played hits like the Deeelite's “Groove Is In The Heart” and Nancy Sinatra's “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” and put their Latin stamp on it. “We have a bilingual singer named Frank Alvarez” Glasberg said, “and we have developed a niche for Latin, Carribean and American pop. That's our unique sound which makes us different from other bands.” The group which also features Keith Greene - Trumpet, Tony Sheppard - Guitar, Pepe Olarte - Piano, and Paul Cartwright - Drums, not only does well at festivals and night clubs, it plays private engagements, conventions and weddings. When he's not performing with Big Night Out or Mitch Clark And The House Rockers at night, Glasberg is an environmental scientist by day “I'm usually running from the alligators and wild boars,” he said, with a laugh. Last month's FridayFest show by Yesterdayze drew a huge crowd. Organizers are hoping for the same for Big Night Out. “We're going to put on a great show,” Glasberg said “We have a lot of energy and there's a lot of talent in our band, like Keith used to lead the Ringling Circus band around the world for 28 years, he would conduct with his left hand and play lead trumpet with his right, he is very talented.”

 

testimonials

Wedding Client
Big Night Out had everyone out of their chairs and dancing. They learned several new songs at our request and played them all beautifully. They were dressed very festive and did a great job at reading the audience mood and catering to them. Everyone was asking me where we found the band and just had a blast. Several said it was the best wedding they'd ever been too and THAT is due to Big Night Out's great talent. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a lively, fun party with a latin flare

Private Event Client
We all really enjoyed your performance this past Friday! Thank you and the band for your wonderful responsiveness to our group and the great fun you brought to us! I heard nothing but very positive comments from everyone. And it seemed as if Big Night Out enjoyed us too. I, as a musician and music teacher, recognized Big Night Out’s amazing musicianship and stage presence when I auditioned BNO at 15 South. I hoped everyone else there would too. And they did! You guys made me look like a genius. I look forward to attending other events at which you play. Thank you!.

 

band members

Joni Adno - lead vocals, piano

Joni began her singing career at age 5 on her front steps singing for whoever walked by and pretending she was singing with Ricky Nelson. Her music education was further encouraged when at  age six she developed a crush on her choir director, who will remain nameless, which continued until she realized in her teens that he didn’t really prefer girls. You may also have seen her around town performing Flamenco or tropical dance beats with Big Night Out or solo piano at art walks and nice restaurants around town.  She has studied piano from the age of 6 and has her degree in Music Education from the University of North Florida. A Florida native, she hales from Jacksonville, where her son is a guitarist in the Sometimes Always band.

 

Keven Celebi - trumpet - lead

An adventurous yet soulful and flexible trumpeter hailing from Detroit, Kevin Celebi started playing music when he was ten. He studied first with Marcus Belgrave (a Detroit legend), playing in the leader’s Civic Jazz Orchestra. After earning a music scholarship to DePauw University, from which he graduated with a BA in computer science and jazz studies, he moved to Indianapolis to attain his graduate degree at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, majoring in music. During this time he played locally with Indianapolis luminaries such as Rob Dixon and Mel Rhyne, among others. After IUPUI, he moved down to Sarasota, Florida, where he joined and played with several groups, including the Naples Jazz Orchestra (playing with Doc Severinsen and Byron Stripling), Sarasota Jazz Project, Ken Loomer Big Band, Harmonic Sanity (a septet), and his own quartet. He is now based in St. Pete Beach, FL and plays all over Tampa Bay including Big Night Out. His debut CD as a leader, Purge Corruption, features Kenny Drew Jr. with original compositions and arrangements.

 

Scott Mahler - percussion 

Scott was born in Detroit. His mother was a pianist, so he grew up surrounded by classical music, Motown, funk, jazz, R&B, and rock. He studied classical piano and guitar at an early age. Latin percussion called him much later in life when he first saw Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. He then traveled to Cuba to attend percussion workshops in Havana and Matanzas. Subsequently he performed percussion with the Ballet of New England and with various jazz and Latin bands in Boston, Washington, DC, and Sarasota, Florida. Scott was an assistant professor in the General Education Department at Berkeley School of Music in Boston  and served for many years as senior editor in ethnomusicology at the Smithsonian Institution Press, where he published numerous books on Cuban culture, including Cuban Be Cubano Bop: One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba by Cuban music critic Leonardo Acosta and Faces of Salsa: A Spoken History of the Music by novelist Leonardo Padura.

Johathan Godfrey - guitar)

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jonathan (Jon) Godfrey began playing guitar on his tenth birthday - the same day the Atlanta Braves clenched their first and only World Series! He played exclusively by ear in alternative, punk, and metal bands throughout high school, additionally teaching himself to perform on drums, bass, and keys so he could record his own songs in his parent’s basement. Inspired by the playing of classical and flamenco guitarists like Andres Segovia, Paco de Lucia, and Pepe Romero, he began studying classical guitar at age 14 and decided to pursue it in college, eventually leading him to his doctorate in music from Indiana University, where he was awarded prizes for his performances of Latin and Spanish music. It was also at Indiana that he met his future-wife and musical partner-in-crime, singer Jenny Kim-Godfrey. The couple moved to Florida’s SunCoast in 2012 where he has performed with country bands to orchestras, from jazz combos to national Broadway tours. He teaches guitar and other music classes at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, and Saint Leo University, and is also an award-winning composer, most recently premiering a commissioned concerto for banjo and orchestra. Jon’s amazing guitar playing is now gracing the music of Big Night Out.

 

Bruce Glasberg - trombone, band leader 

Bruce was born in Bronxville New York and grew up on Long Island. He began playing trombone in 4th grade and hasn't stopped. He moved to L.A. for ten years then fled to Sarasota FL. Over the years he has performed with Big Night Out (Latin, variety) Strangeways (ska) and Amandla Tunesmith (soukous)) Undercover Funk (R&B), Midnight Swingers (jazz) Flat Top Tom and the Jumpcats (R&B) and numerous other bands. Bruce's most memorable gigs include Corcoran State Prison in California (home to Charlie Manson and Sir Han Sir Han) national tours with Strangeways, in addition to  Nudestock at the Riverboat Nudist Camp and Tropical Heatwave in Ybor City FL. The wildest gig for Bruce was in south central L.A. while leading a jazz quintet. Eleven LAPD officers ran into the bar with their guns drawn. The cops barged in and searched under the tables and kicked bathroom doors open as Bruce kept the band playing flawlessly never missing a single note. They found their suspect hiding under a van in the back parking lot. The officers were seen leaving the bar bopping their heads and snapping their fingers to the beat. 

Chris Cheshire (bass, vocals)

Chris Cheshire - bass

Chris  was born and raised in the New York City area, performing both on stage and in the recording studio starting at age of 14. He studied music at the State University of New York and became a music teacher both in New York and then in Florida. His musical influences include Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke, and Jaco Pastorius. He performs with small groups as well as big bands, theatre and orchestras, and has even performed with the late great Marvin Hamlisch. Since moving to Sarasota 20 years ago, he has performed with Flightpath, the Big Z Band, Smokey's Session, Ari and the Alibi's, the Lisa Ridings Band, the Retros, the Island Swing Band and moonlights regularly with Big Night Out!.

Scott Blum - drums 

Originally from the New Jersey/New York area, Scott currently lives in Bradenton, Florida. He performs on the drum set, percussion, and washboard with dance bands, theatre, parades, circus, festivals, orchestra, opera, radio, television, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sea Notes Dixieland Jazz Band, Jacobites, Piping Hot, concert bands and with Big Night Out. He is member of the Association of Florida Teaching Artists and Arts for Healing. For Scott music is the fountain of youth!

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