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Concerts on the Waterfront Series in Sackets Harbor shows its moves this year

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SACKETS HARBOR — The Concerts on the Waterfront series has a twist — with a shimmy, a samba and more moves thrown in — this year.

Organizers of the 29th annual series have chosen musicians who integrate dance into their performances. Besides being moved, audiences will be educated. In many cases, audiences will hear how dance has influenced American culture. Music styles will range from swing to salsa.

Concerts in the series, sponsored by the Sackets Harbor Historical Society, are held Sunday afternoons on the tree-canopied grounds of the Battlefield State Historic Site overlooking Lake Ontario, where people set up lawn chairs and some enjoy picnics. A flat, grassy area in front of the bandstand serves as a dance floor.

n June 30: The 10-concert series kicks off, as it has the past eight years, with Frank Sacci and his big band. Mr. Sacci and his orchestra have performed in and around Watertown at gala events for more than 40 years and have performed at Concerts on the Waterfront since its inception.

When he was a child in the 1940s, Mr. Sacci was fascinated by the “new” sound of the big bands. “I can remember standing and listening and analyzing the music,” he said.

Mr. Sacci’s 16-member band will perform the music of Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and others. Dan Mosier will step out of the trombone section to sing “My Way” and other Frank Sinatra favorites.

Before retiring to Florida for the winters, Mr. Sacci also conducted the Jefferson Community College Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. His band has appeared with Al Martino, Eddie Fisher, the Smothers Brothers, Connie Frances, Rich Little, the Lettermen, Jerry Vale and Robert Goulet.

n July 7: Ruby Shooz. This band, based in the Rochester area, returns to the north country after its energetic performance in May in Watertown at the USO Big Band Bash.

Dressed in their signature red glitter jackets and two-toned bowling shirts, the seven members of Ruby Shooz perform a classic rock ‘n’ roll show that honors icons such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Little Richard and Elvis Presley.

The band will host a twist contest with Ruby Shooz merchandise for prizes.

n July 14: Li’l Anne and the Hot Cayennes. This group is one of the most sought-after Zydeco acts in the Northeast. It’s led by Anne Stork. The band has performed at a variety of prestigious venues including the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Charlestown, R.I., the Great Connecticut Cajun/Zydeco Music & Arts Festival, and the Saratoga Springs Dance Flurry. The band’s third album will be released in the fall.

nJuly 21:Atlas. This big and brassy nine-piece band based in Central New York returns to the series as its “party band.” Atlas, making its 11th appearance this year, highlights 20th century music ranging from Earth, Wind and Fire and Tower of Power to Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the Motown era. It formed in 1981 as the Atlas Linen Company.

n July 28:Susan Taylor Trio. This Skaneateles-based band specializes in ballroom and Latin dancing/music. The group sings its selections in their original languages such as Spanish, French and Portuguese — and a popular Argentine tango is sung in Turkish. Ms. Taylor is former associate concertmaster of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

n Aug. 4:Custom Taylor Band: This Syracuse-based group, with Kentucky native Chris Taylor on lead vocals, is a top-40 country band versed in modern tunes and the classics. The Syracuse New Times named the six-piece band the city’s best country band of 2012.

Due to the War of 1812 bicentennial activities at the battlefield, this concert will be held at the Sackets Harbor Bandstand on Main Street in the village.

nAug. 11:Slyboots Circus of the World: Griffin Brady is the founder of the Slyboots School of Music and Art in Buffalo. The “Circus” is one of its ensembles, The act is a multicultural experience, featuring master musicians, dancers, drummers, acrobats, aerialists and fire artists from around the world. It combines elements of traditional West African music and dance, Chinese acrobatics, contemporary dance, magic and jazz.

n Aug. 18: 10th Mountain Division Band. This will be the 17th appearance by the 10th Mountain Division Band in the Concerts on the Waterfront series. The band plays a variety of music, from patriotic marches to pop and Sinatra standards to salsa. Organizers have listed the band’s appearance as “tentative,” depending on the band’s final schedule.

n Aug. 25:Orquesta Antonetti: This Rochester-based band has been performing for salsa lovers since 1970 when it was created by Victor Antonetti Sr., a native of Puerto Rico. His son, Victor Antonetti, Jr., now directs the orchestra. He has collaborated with some of the best producers and arrangers of salsa music.

n Sept. 1: The DeSantis Orchestra: This Syracuse-based band was created by Mario DeSantis more than 60 years ago. It’s now led by his daughter, Maria. It plays a variety of music from big band, jazz standards and contemporary hits.

n n n

Major sponsors of the Concerts on the Waterfront Series are Watertown Savings Bank, the village of Sackets Harbor and the town of Hounsfield Committee for the Advancement of Tourism. Additional support is from various other businesses and organizations and pass-the-hat donations.

Five of the concerts are made possible in part by a Community Arts grant through a partnership between St. Lawrence County Arts Council and the New York State Council on the Arts.

The details: Concerts on the Waterfront
WHAT: The 29th season of Concerts on the Waterfront presented by the Sackets Harbor Historical Society.
WHEN/WHERE: The 10 concerts in the series run from 3 to 5 p.m. Sundays at the Battlefield State Historic Site along Lake Ontario. They begin June 30 with Frank Sacci and his orchestra and conclude Sept. 1 with the DeSantis Orchestra.
COST: Free, but “pass-the-hat” donations are welcomed.
RAIN LOCATION: United Presbyterian Church, Main and Broad streets.
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