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The Swingsations: News

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 ( - 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 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 we'd appreciate your support. For more details please visit

We're back! - May 12, 2015

I'm happy to announce our next gig, and Westy will be with'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 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'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.

Another Fun Night on the Queen Mary - September 4, 2014

My thanks go out to the Art Deco Society and the staff at the Queen Mary for another wonderful night last Friday at the Art Deco Festival - we played for a large group of dancers at the Welcome Reception and then performed several sets of swingin' music in the Queen's Salon. It was a great tenth anniversary celebration, and we hope to return again next year as always.

Art Deco Update - August 12, 2014

After some discussion it turns out that we will be performing on Friday night only for the Art Deco Festival ( August 29 ). The management has decided to go in another direction for entertainment on Sunday night. We will be happy to do the Cocktail Reception and PJ Jam, but unfortunately these events are not open to the public ( you can, of course, buy an admission to the Festival and join the fun ). I'll keep you posted as to other upcoming events.

Getting ready for the Art Deco Festival - August 6, 2014

Yes, it's almost that time again when we perform for our good friends at the Art Deco Society - this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Art Deco Festival, held on Labor Day Weekend on the Queen Mary. I'm pleased to say that we've been involved from the very beginning back in 2005, and it has been a great honor and a pleasure to play for this fine organization. This year we will once again be playing for the Cocktail Reception at the Verandah Grill on Friday, August 29 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and then moving to the Queen's Salon for the Pajama Party from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. We may also be doing the for public performance at the Observation Bar on Sunday, August 31, but it hasn't been confirmed as of yet. It's a really fun weekend of events, and I hope to see you there!

A Trip to Korea - July 22, 2014

I've just returned from a wonderful trip to South Korea, where I was performing with Gordon Webster's fine group from New York City. We played on July 18 and 19 at the Jeju Swing Camp on the island of Jeju-Do, off the southern coast of South Korea. I had a wonderful time - the people there are very friendly and generous, and it was a real honor to work in a band of top class jazz musicians ( I had worked with Gordon previously last November at Joel Plys' swing dance event on Catalina Island )...they are real road warriors and can deliver the goods! I want to thank all the kind South Korean fans and people for making my trip an unforgettable experience, and Gordon for some incredible music making. I hope to post some photos from the trip on Facebook in the near future.

Thanks everyone! - July 8, 2014

A big thank you to all who attended our gig at Joe's last night! A great time was had by all, and it was a real treat to have the great John Reynolds guesting on guitar and vocals. We hope to return soon, and I thank Lorenzo Rossi, our most gracious host, for having us back. Hope to see you all again soon!

Recording on hold - June 25, 2014

Well, as is sometimes the case when dealing with groups of people, I wasn't able to get the band all together to record in June as I had hoped. I'm going to try for late August or perhaps early in the fall, although I return to school teaching then and it's harder to get practice time in on my horn...we'll see. Don't worry, I will get this project started soon, and I look forward to a great third recording in the near future.
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