"Big Broadcast!" Recreates 1940s Radio Show

The "Big Broadcast!" features singers in full 1940s-era clothing, hairstyles, and makeup.

Peek into Chapin Auditorium on Sunday, March 9, and you’ll think you’ve been transported back in time. The ninth annual Big Broadcast! recreates a live 1940s radio show as the Mount Holyoke Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles perform well-known tunes from the swing era and the American songbook. Students appear in period dress, makeup, and hairstyles for the event.

The Big Broadcast! is produced by MHC Jazz Ensembles director Mark Gionfriddo (known onstage as “Matt Morgan”) and features local WWLP-TV meteorologist Brian Lapis as emcee “Fred Kelley.”

There are two performances, starting at 2 pm and 7 pm.

“My students and I researched live radio broadcasts of the 1940s: the big band swing music, the radio serials, and the commercials of the day," says Gionfriddo. “We incorporate these elements into our production to give the audience the feel of an authentic radio variety program on a fictitious station named WJAZ.”

This year’s program includes arrangements by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw. Plus, the Vocal and Chamber Jazz Ensemble will perform a novelty hit written for Groucho Marx in 1939, “Lydia The Tattooed Lady.”

Audience members will hear George Gershwin's "Do It Again," Tommy Dorsey's arrangement of Franz Liszt's "Liebestraum," "Taking a Chance on Love" by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw's theme song "Nightmare," Stan Kenton's "It's Been a Long, Long Time," and Glenn Miller's "Don't Sit under the Apple Tree.”

The Big Broadcast! is sponsored by Mount Holyoke College, Loomis Communities, the Republican/Mass Live, New England Public Radio, and WWLP-22News.

Ticket Information: All tickets are general admission—$20 for front-and-center seating and $15 for regular seating ($10 for seniors and students). Buy tickets in person at the UMass Fine Arts Center Box Office, at the Odyssey Bookshop, or at the door; by phone (413-545-2511); or online (https://fac.umass.edu/Online/).