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Feb. 3, 2014
Thank you to those hearty souls who braved the weather to attend our first ever concert in the Gifts of Music series at Rocky River United Methodist Church yesterday.
Nov. 13, 2013
Trinity Brown Bag Concert: 378 attended, a new record for us, WOW! Thank you!!
Oct. 17, 2013
We made a lot of new friends in Norwalk, Ohio. Residents of area senior facilities were bussed to Calvary Baptist Church where 175 enthusiastic seniors enjoyed our two set performance.
July 26, 2013
Our performance at the National Senior Games yesterday morning at 11:30 a.m. was a big hit. Folks even danced! Thank you to Humana, Cleveland Clinic, and all the sponsors and workers who helped make this event a success and to show our city in a positive light. A special big THANK YOU to Liz Strong from Meredith Camp Events, who guided us through and made it work.
The evening segment at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a V.I.P. party from 7-9 was taxing as it was two hours when we had already played one hour in the morning.
November 29, 2012
The Wednesday Brown Bag Concert Series at Trinity Cathedral has become a yearly event for us. Keep an eye on our calendar so that you can join us next year. You can bring your lunch or purchase food items right there at the concert.
Music begins at noon and ends around 1:00.
October 26, 2012
Last night the Cleveland Public Library and the Senior Games (coming to Cleveland in 2013) hosted the national organization Grantmakers in Aging for a reception held in the rotunda of the Stokes Wing. The group was in Cleveland for most of the week for meetings and seminars and the TOPS Band was honored to play a set for a VERY enthusiastic audience of Grantmakers from all over the United States. A big TOPS thank you to Heidi Strickland and her staff at the CPLibrary for helping to make the event a memorable one for us and providing lots of help getting our equipment in and out of the venue.
July 27, 2012
Dick Wooley steps down as Music Director & CEO, Jim Wonnacott named Music Director.
In a letter to supporters dated July 26, 2012, Dick Wooley expressed "personal appreciation for your vital contributions during the seven terrific years we've had together. It has been a honor to lead this band of professionals but it is time for me to respond to the demands of my age and physical limitations." Dick announced his resignation to a packed house at the TOPS fundraiser held at Nighttown Jazz Club in Cleveland Heights on July 10th. Dick was presented with a commemorative plaque for his years of service and "vision." His wife, Nora, also received a plaque from the band for her contributions as TOPS "Number One Volunteer," along with a dozen long-stem roses.
Sept 10, 2010
We have NEW FRIENDS at Kenston Intermediate School in Chagrin Falls. On May 7th, TOPS was privileged to experience a unique concert/seminar given for 600+ students and faculty. The event was a "donation" sponsored by Corinne Cathcart who "won" the band at the raffle of our 2008 fundraiser. Our singer, Ron Davis, in a moment of pure inspiration, asked the kids to join him in singing the tag line of our concluding number, Louis Armstrong's great song, "What a Wonderful World." All the kids joined in for an inspiring rendition, and we Tough Old Pros still get goose bumps recalling that priceless moment. And thanks to all the students who took time to write us a thank you note. Below is a small sample.
May 22, 2010
We now have a total of eight CDs available, and you can even order online. Our new "Spotlight" Series showcases each of our fine vocalists: Ron Davis, Larry Patch, Ruth Griebel, and Betsy Guy. We put all eight CDs on one page, along with an order form you can fill out. Click "send" and it goes to Ron Davis, our Marketing Director. He'll put your order together and when your check or money order for your donation arrives Ron will send yor order right out. Sorry, we are not set up for credit card payments. Thank you for your support.
October 22, 2009
Thank you to all who attended and supported the fundraiser last night. The results are being tabulated and will be announced soon. You can still get a tax deduction in 2009 for your support of TOPS. Send your check made out to Cleveland TOPS Swingband Foundation to the address at the left.
July 9, 2009
We are planning a TOPS fundraiser for Wednesday, October 21st to be held at Night Town Jazz Club in Cleveland Hts. We will play two sets from 7-9 p.m. Cost is $100.00 per person, which breaks down to $30.00 for dinner (drinks extra), and a $70.00 tax-deductible donation to TOPS.
March 28, 2009
All spots have now been filled for the free concert/clinics for 2009 . If you would like to be considered for a free concert and clinic for your students in 2010 (contingent on grant funds available), contact any member of the TOPS Education Committee: Doug Day, Jim Wonnacott or Ken Mehalko.
Jan. 30, 2009
In case you missed it - We're sorry you couldn't get to the introductory event our band held for music directors at Nighttown on January 21st. Follow-up letters have now been sent out. If you didn't get one and would like to be considered for one of the remaining spots for a free concert/clinic for your students, contact any member of the TOPS education Committee: Doug Day, Jim Wonnacott, or Ken Mehalko to see if the date you want is still available.
What you missed was a sample of the unique style of big band performance our senior Cleveland all-stars play…and an outline of our program to work with Northeast Ohio school jazz bands.
Doug Day, Ken Mehalko, and Jim Wonnacott, retired and highly respected music teachers who head up TOPS's Educational Outreach Program have, like you, worked hard to create and build jazz programs in their schools…i.e., they've been there and done that! They know your challenges and aspirations!
These men described the program of clinics and combined concerts with which we've had great success. Due to our having received a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, we can now extend this opportunity to you and your players.
The funds are limited and dates are filling up quickly so we ask that you contact these men soon to learn more details and schedule your school.
We know you'll be glad you did…and your program will surely benefit from the experience gained from time spent with our Tough Old Pros.
TOPS Education Committee
Nov. 30, 2008
The National Endowment for the Arts has officially informed us that TOPS is to be the recipient of a 2009 grant of $25,000 to support our efforts specifically in the area of our Education Outreach Program.
TOPS, thanks to this endorsement and support, will be able to quickly expand our efforts to introduce the authentic big band era music style to high school and college musicians of northeastern Ohio.
The overall plan is to join with music directors in holding clinics, joint concerts and other related seminars to provide hands-on work with us Tough Old Pros.
This will also support a summer “Big Band Bash Camp” that salutes and enriches chances for outstanding young student performers to grow exponentially.
Many details are yet to be worked out but we have several qualified music education professionals in the TOPS band who will organize and implement this truly exciting extension of our mission.
fundraiser at Night Town, Cleveland's premier jazz club, was a resounding success. On Wednesday, October 29, 2008, the TOPS band played to a near capacity crowd and thanks to the generosity of many fine individuals, we raised over $7,000 to help us further our mission of providing classic big band music to senior audiences.
We now have eight CDs. View contents AND order online here.
first studio CD, "Feelin' Young Again," is still available.
They went fast so we ordered another batch. If you would like to have one (or even 10 or more,
they make great gifts), e-mail
us or call Ron at the number below, and we will be glad to send them
out to you right away. Listen to song samples from the CD here.
are seeking sponsors to assist with achieving our primary goal - to provide
live traditional big band era music to the Northeastern Ohio area's senior
audiences. Sponsorship can take two forms:
us reach our audiences
by contacting activities directors or others you know at senior centers
and senior resident facilities or by providing us with information we
can follow up. Enjoy the band? Please spread the word!
There are expenses in starting, equipping, promoting and operating such
an organization and in underwriting the costs of performance which exceed
the resources the musicians can provide unaided. Many facilities do
not have budgets that allow them to fully pay for the band, about $600
minimum per concert. Support from sponsors is needed to make up the
difference. Contributions are tax deductible.
We have been granted non-profit foundation status and are applying
for several foundation grants but
we would still appreciate any individual or company support.
Jim Wonnacott: E-mail
Ron Davis: 216-244-0646 E-mail
Larry Patch: 216-524-BAND