Notice: This article is more than one year old and is part of the Henry Ford College news archive. Information in the article may be outdated. For the most current news and information about Henry Ford College, please visit, or contact
Release Date: 
Thursday, June 3, 2010

Big Band plays Dearborn Hills July 8

The Henry Ford Big Band of Henry Ford Community College will kick off Dearborn’s Music Under the Stars series at the Dearborn Hills Golf Course Thursday, July 8. The concert is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. Dearborn Hills is located at 1300 S. Telegraph, just north of Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. The grill, bar and beverage area will be open for business during the concert.

The concert also is a send-off for the award-winning Henry Ford Big Band, which has been selected to perform for the second time at the prestigious Jazz a’ Juan Festival in southern France later on July 18. Jazz a’ Juan, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is Europe’s oldest jazz festival.

The Henry Ford Big Band is the only non-professional performance ensemble selected to perform on the jazz festival’s famous Pinede Gould main stage with internationally-known recording artists. Community and college groups from Australia, China, Japan, Russia, Western Europe, and the United States also will perform on other stages at the festival.

'For jazz musicians, the performance on the main stage at Jazz a’ Juan, which will be televised, is like being in the NCAA Final Four or the NFL Super Bowl,' said Dearborn resident Rick Goward, HFCC's director of bands. 'We are looking forward to our return engagement at Europe’s oldest and most prestigious jazz festival on the French Riveria.'

Formed in 1981, the Henry Ford Big Band has performed at major jazz festivals around the world, playing the music of such legendary American jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Count Basie and Stan Kenton. The band has performed twice at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall, eight times at the Montreux, Switzerland Jazz Festival, as well as three U.S. Presidential Inaugurations. Other world engagements include performances at the New Orleans Mardi Gras, the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival, and 26 appearances at the Detroit International Jazz Festival (formerly Montreux Detroit).

In addition, the band was recently honored with the Wayne County Executive’s Award by the Wayne County Council for Arts, History, and Humanities.

To defray the cost of the European trip, Big Band members have already raised approximately $72,500 of the $75,000 needed, added Goward.

'We welcome donations to help assure enough funding support for the Big Band,' said Goward. 'Each of the Big Band members has made a good faith effort to raise their individual funds by performing numerous concerts in the area and contributing their own 'out-of-pocket' money.

As ambassadors for HFCC, the 17-member Big Band performs numerous concerts, conventions, conferences, and dances each year. In addition, the band members volunteer their time to play at the annual Dearborn Good Fellows- Smoke on the Grill, plus perform nearly 15 community performances each college year.

Members include: alto saxophonists Christopher Traskal of Detroit and Joe LaRussa of Farmington; tenor saxophonists Pete Birchler of Detroit and Earl Lundy of Canton; and baritone saxophonist Neal Kesterson of Maybee.

Other members are trumpeters Paul Abbott of Allen Park, James Bostek of Ferndale, John Hartwick of Ferndale and Pat Jensen of Dearborn. Trombonists are Tim Fischer of Ferndale, Rob Hartman of Lincoln Park, Ian Stark of Lincoln Park and John Bostek of Flushing.

Rounding out the group are pianist Terhan Terrell of Oak Park, bass player Roger Zielinski of Allen Park and percussionist Ian Kushnir of Dearborn. 

For more information, please contact Rick Goward at