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The Swingsations: News

Barley Forge again! - August 1, 2016

I'm looking forward to our third appearance this Thursday night, August 4, at the Barley Forge Brewing Co. Though there is no room for dancing, it is a great place for listening and the staff is very friendly. Please join us for some great food and beer, and of course some swinging jazz and swing. We play two sets, from 8 to 9 pm and 9:30 to 10:30 pm. Please come out and join us! For more information please visit http://barleyforge.com.

Another great night - March 9, 2016

We had a great time performing for the second time at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa. I thank the staff for having us back and for their kind hospitality, and I also thank Danny and David House for bringing us back. Even there is no real room for dancing ( and technically it's not allowed ), we had two couples "cut a rug" on one of our fast numbers - they did a great job! We hope to be back again in the very near future...stay tuned!

Welcome Dave - February 7, 2016

I'd like to welcome Dave Eastly into my band as a replacement for our dear friend Westy. Dave has been working in my band for the last eight years as a sub, and I've had the pleasure of working with him at Disney for many years. He is a fine bassist and singer, and I plan on using his talents to make the band even better and carry on our tradition of happy, swinging music with the right blend of vocals and instrumentals. Thank you, Dave, and here's to many more years of swing.

Return to Barley Forge - February 7, 2016

I'm pleased to announce that we'll be making a return appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Company in Costa Mesa - the date is Thursday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m. Our first gig was well received and I'm looking forward to being back. I'll have Tom Liston on guitar and Paul Johnson on drums as special guests, as well as Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly. Unfortunately there's no room for dancing, but we encourage you to "chair dance" as much as you'd like! Our friend from Disneyland Danny House is in charge of booking entertainment, and we're certainly glad to be a part of it. Please join us for some great beer, great food, and swingin' music.
For more details please visit http://barleyforge.com. See you there!

Happy New Year! - December 30, 2015

As 2015 winds down, I want to thank all of our fans for supporting us this year, and to wish you all joy and happiness in the coming new year. It was an eventful 2015 for the band, as we were able to perform at some new venues - the MadHaus for the Long Beach swing dancers, over in Anaheim for the Swingin' On The Promenade dance event in July, and we also performed up at Joe's in Burbank and appeared at Casa Costa Mesa during June, July, and August. We were on the Queen Mary once again for the Art Deco Festival, and capped off the year with an appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in December...we hope to return there in 2016.

Of course, on a sad note, we lost our long serving bass player and vocalist Lee "Westy" Westenhofer in September. It was a great loss, and he will always be remembered for the joy he brought to so many people through his great humor and fine playing. Thank you, Westy.

In closing, Happy New Year to you and yours, and I hope to see you in 2016!

Back at a new venue - November 30, 2015

We'll be returning to the scene on Thursday, December 17, at a new location - the Barley Forge Brewing Company in Costa Mesa. They are going to start having jazz groups on Thursdays in December, and we've been selected to represent classic jazz and swing. We are supposed to start at 7:30 pm, and the specific details are still coming in - I'll keep you all posted when I know. It will be great to be swingin' again in Orange County.

Some sad news - September 17, 2015

I am so very sorry to report the death of my dear friend Lee "Westy" Westenhofer, after his long battle with heart problems. He left us this afternoon, surrounded by his family and listening to some of his favorite music. Anyone who has seen our shows over the past fifteen years knows what an amazing musician and entertainer Westy was, and how much joy he brought to so many people. He was so very generous to me, giving me advice, carpooling to gigs and expecting no pay, and helping out in so many ways. I will cherish the music that we made together, and am proud that he is featured on my second recording. God grant him peace, and condolences to Sharon and his sons. Farewell, old friend - you are greatly missed and will not be forgotten.

More about Westy - September 3, 2015

Our dear friend and bassist Lee "Westy" Westenhofer continues to struggle with heart problems. After spending time at UCLA Medical Center he has now been transferred back to Sharp Medical Center in San Diego, where they hope to do a procedure to strengthen his heart and also strengthen him so that he can have a heart transplant. It has been a long, exhausting ordeal for both him and his family, and I must ask you all to continue to pray for him and keep he and his family in your thoughts. Thank you very much.

September dates - August 31, 2015

It's almost September, and we have a few events in store...the first is our appearance at the 11th annual Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary. We'll be performing this Friday night, Sept. 4, for a reception and the PJ Party in the Queen's Salon. Unfortunately this event is not open to the public, but you can certainly buy tickets if you'd like ( visit the Queen Mary website ( www.queenmary.com - look under events ). And the following Friday, Sept. 11, we'll be returning to Casa Costa Mesa - two sets from 9:30 to 11:30. We hope to see you at one or both of these performances.

Yet another Westy update - August 31, 2015

Hi everyone - as you may know if you've seen my posts on Facebook, my bass player and friend Westy has had a difficult summer, as he continues to have problems with his heart. He is now at UCLA Medical Center ( having been there for several weeks )and is very weak, but things to be improving at this time. I was able to visit him yesterday and give him my best wishes and to relay the thoughts and prayers of so many of his friends and fans. Please join me in continuing to hope and pray that he may gain strength and eventually be able to receive a heart transplant. Thank you!

Summer of Swing! - July 16, 2015

It's been a great summer so far, as we now have a steady once a month gig at Casa Costa Mesa ( on the second Friday of the month )- we'll be there until the end of this year and hopefully into the new year..our next appearance will be Friday, August 14. In addition, we'll be performing as part of the Swingin' On The Promenade series for the city of Anaheim on Saturday night, August 8, form 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. This is a free event, so if you're in the area please come by! And we will once again be performing for our friends at the Art Deco Society over Labor Day weekend. It's great to be playing our music on a regular basis, and we hope see all of you along the way.

Return to Casa - July 1, 2015

Our first gig at Casa Costa Mesa was a success, and so we've been invited back - our next appearance is Friday, July 10, from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. This time I will have Tom Liston as my special guest on guitar ( who was my original guitarist back in 1995 )as well as George Andrus on drums, along with regulars Westy and Phil Krawzak. We hope that you can join us at this stylish 1920's style bar. Please visit www.casacostamesa.com to RSVP and receive your secret entry code. Thanks for your support!

Swingin' at Casa - June 23, 2015

We had a really good time performing at Casa Costa Mesa last Saturday night - it's a new venue in the OC featuring live music and wonderful craft cocktails. Everyone there was very friendly and helpful, and the management would like to have us there on a monthly basis - so let's keep our fingers crossed. We hope to see you there on our next appearance!

A gig in the OC - May 31, 2015

I'm pleased to announce a new nightclub gig coming up in June at Casa Costa Mesa, a new 1900's style pub and bar in Costa Mesa. We'll be there on Saturday night, June 20, from 10 p.m. to midnight. John Reynolds will be guesting on guitar, and I'll have Westy there as well. It should be a fun time, and perhaps the beginning of a regular gig...so we'd appreciate your support. For more details please visit www.casacostamesa.com.

We're back! - May 12, 2015

I'm happy to announce our next gig, and Westy will be with us...it's a swing dance for Fourth Saturday Swing in Long Beach. The date is Saturday, May 23, from 9 pm to midnight at the MADhaus in Long Beach, 634 Pacific Ave. The theme is Frankie Manning's birthday and we're pleased to be a part of it. I'll have my regular band there with special guest Gareth Price on drums. It should be a fun time and we hope that you can join us for some great music and to welcome back Westy. For more details please visit the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/1421197564864457//. Thanks for your support!

Twenty years! - April 16, 2015

This year marks the twentieth year of the band, and what a fun time it has been...from the early days when it was just a crazy dream of mine to have a band that could play the best classic 20's - 30's jazz and swing, to the years of playing jazz festivals and park concerts, weddings, and being a featured act at some great nightclubs like the Derby, the Argyle Hotel, and the Cicada Club - and also performing at the Art A Fair Festival in Laguna Beach for 17 straight years, as well as the Art Deco Festival every year since the beginning in 2005. It's all been a lot of fun, and I wish to thank all the musicians past and present who have worked with me and helped to bring some swingin' music to the world. And a big thank you to all you fans for your support throughout these years. Let's keep on keepin' on!

Yet another Westy update - April 12, 2015

I'd like to bring you up to date on Westy's condition, as it has been about a month since I last posted. He is recovering at home, slowly but surely...the operation that he had took a lot out of him, but he is getting better and plans on playing a gig later this month ( which is surely good news, if he feels that he can play again ). Please continue to keep our good friend in your thoughts and prayers, and we'll continue to hope to have him with us again later this year.

A Westy Update - March 12, 2015

I'd like to let you all know how Lee "Westy" Westenhofer is doing there days. As you may know from my posts, he has been having difficulties with this heart and defibrillator, which was firing way too often. Unfortunately he has been in and out of the hospital these past few months, culminating in an operation several weeks ago where they operated on the nerve endings to his adrenal glands so that the defibrillator would stop firing. So far so good...the operation seems to have been successful, but Westy is in a lot of pain, slowly recovering at home. His eventual goal is to get a heart transplant, but he needs to be in shape for that and that will take time. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, with all good wishes for a speedy recovery.

A trip to Stockholm - January 12, 2015

I was very fortunate to be able to travel to Stockholm, Sweden over the Christmas holidays to perform once again with Gordon Webster's fine band. What a great trip...Stockholm is a beautiful city and I had a lot of time to explore it. It was also a thrill and a great honor to play with Gordon again. The event was a swing dance event called Snowball, and I got to play some swinging music with some first class musicians. I also got to meet and talk to some wonderful and friendly Swedes, which is what makes travel so worthwhile to me. It's great to make friends and make people happy all over the world through music. I hope that you all get a chance to travel sometime in your lives...it's well worth it.

Happy New Year! - January 10, 2015

A little belated, but I want to wish you all a wonderful 2015...may you all find happiness and success in this new year. We didn't have a great quantity of gigs in the past year, but we enjoyed the ones we had. I'm also happy to report that Westy is at home recuperating from his surgery of last month - he'll be back with us soon.
Here's to lots of music making opportunities in the coming year!

Take care, Westy - November 28, 2014

As we enter the busy Christmas and holiday season, I'd like you to keep our friend Lee "Westy" Westenhofer in your thoughts and prayers. He is spending the weekend in the hospital in LA, awaiting open heart surgery to deal with a nerve on the outside of his heart. He feels confident that the procedure will take care of the problems he's been having lately, and I certainly hope that all goes well for him. He has been such a beloved musician and entertainment in this area for so many years, and we hope to enjoy his talents for many more years. Hang in there, Westy - we wish you all the best.

Happy Thanksgiving! - November 27, 2014

As another Thanksgiving draws to a close, I hope that it was a good day for all of you. It may be a cliché, but it's true...although times may be tough and problems many, we still have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I am thankful to be able to play wonderful swinging music on a regular basis in Southern California, and for all of you fans who come out to listen and dance - at Disneyland, w/Jonathan Stout's group, and The Swingsations of course. I greatly appreciate your support, and wish you all happiness and peace on this day.

Another great night - November 20, 2014

We had a great time at Joe's once again - thanks to everyone who came out to listen and dance, especially James Redmond ( who took some great film last time in July and who did some photographs this time ) and my faithful fans Gene Hatsiguchi and Tise Chao. It was great to have the regular band together again, and although Wendy wasn't able to be with us as originally planned, it was still a swingin' time.
Thanks also to Lorenzo, our congenial host - keep up the good work, and we hope to be back again in the new year.

Return to Joe's - November 9, 2014

We'll be making a return visit to Joe's in Burbank - the date is Monday, November 17, from 9:15 to midnight. This time I'll have my regular band including the fabulous Tom Hynes on guitar. As a special treat Wendy Rea will be joining us on vocals - we're always happy to have her join us for some wonderful singing. Please join us for a fun and swinging time! For more information please visit the Facebook event page The Swingsations@Happy Feet Monday!

Sorry I haven't written... - October 19, 2014

I must again apologize for the lack of entries lately - it is once again the time of year when I put on my other hat as an elementary band director at four schools, and even though it's part time it tends to take up a lot of my time in the fall.
Some of my other band members are busy as well - Tom Hynes is a full time instructor at Azusa Pacific University and Phil Krawzak can be seen weekly at Disneyland as a member of the Disneyland Band. We do hope to be out and about again in the near future, and I thank you as always for visiting my website and for your continued support.
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