About the Stardust Big Band Show
The Stardust Big Band Show is a celebration of music from the Great American Songbook. Our nation has an amazing musical tradition, with some of the best music heralding from the Jazz and Big Band Swing Eras of the 1930s and 40s. Each year, we put on a professional floor show, featuring singers and dancers from our community. Our Stardust Singers sing classic tunes such as Route 66, Tuxedo Junction, In the Mood, Stardust, Mack the Knife, and 42nd Street that will have your tapping your toes and wanting to sing along! Our dancers will amaze you with Broadway quality tap routines and kick lines. Jan Richins always adds a creative flair to her choreography…there’s always a fun surprise in our show! David Gardner is our Master of Ceremonies. He has played everything from Bob Hope to a Navy sailor, to a train conductor. David always keeps the crowd entertained and helps the audience to feel like they are part of the show!
The Larry Smith Jazz Kicks Band always has our audiences on their feet. This band really swings! Larry Smith was the professor of jazz studies at Utah State for over 30 years. His band is comprised of many current USU faculty and students, band teachers from the valley, and professional musicians. Larry writes many of the arrangements that you will hear in our show. Our audience love to get up and swing, lindy, and fox trot along to their exciting sounds.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, audiences are also treated to a special dinner, which this year will be catered by the Elements restaurant. Patrons who are visiting from out of town may wish to do one of our hotel packages…we have a partnership set up with the Marriott in Logan.
This years’ show runs June 27th through July 1st. The Thursday evening performance is show and dance only. Friday and Saturday features a delicious dinner served before the show, and Monday is Dessert Night/Date night, where you can come and enjoy delicious desserts before the show and dance. There is something for everyone! We invite you to come, take a step back in time, and enjoy the magic of the Stardust Big Band Show!
In the 1980s and 90s, Utah State University sponsored an annual Glenn Miller Big Band Show featuring a jazz band led by Larry Smith and students performers–singers and dancers and instrumentalists that all created a show similar to a 1940s USO performance. The Sunburst Singers and Sunburst Dancers took their audiences back in time to an era where swing was the thing, where the lindy hop was all the rage, and when the nation turned to music to express their hopes even during a time of war. Renowned band leader, Glenn Miller, enlisted along with many of his band members and toured overseas, entertaining the troops as the fought in the war. Famed performers such as Bob Hope and the Andrews Sisters lightened the hearts of fighting men and women both on the European and Japanese fronts. The World War II era was an age of patriotism and heroism, both on the front lines, and in the hearts of families making sacrifices at home. It was an age of the iconic Rosie the Riveter, who represented thousands of women building planes and working in munitions factories, planting victory gardens, and buying war bonds. The music of the great big bands, led by such musicians as Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and artists like Ella Fitzgerald, the Andrews Sisters, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong…this music became the soundtrack to a nation at war…a release, a celebration, a show of patriotism, a way to leave behind the cares of the world for an evening and dance and sing and celebrate life. The Glenn Miller Shows at Utah State University were a step back in time to this great era.
When the university decided to end this tradition, Brenda Anthony, a long-time patron and community member, didn’t want to see the show end. She volunteered to take up the project, and started what became the Celebrate America show. The Larry Smith Jazz Kicks Band was hired to continue the tradition. The show grew over the years…and patrons and community members were able to come and enjoy a delicious dinner, watch a high quality USO style show, featuring the now Stardust Singers and Dancers, and then end the evening by dancing to classic jazz and swing tunes. Over the years, many performers and directors helped to create the magic each year, including, notably, the Benson sisters Julie, Connie, and Lisa, who made several appearances as the Andrews Sisters, and following the tradition of their father Jan Benson, who used to play the character of Glenn Miller and lead the show. Brenda was the President and Executive Director of the Celebrate America Show for over 16 years.
In 2016, Brenda retired, and Jan Richins and Karen Teuscher took up the helm and Executive Director and Music Director, with Trevor Teuscher as technical support. Jan and Karen have been running the show as a team since that time, and this year have added to the board Mystee Shauers, Randy Shauers, Janet Pitcher, Dani Simper, David Gardner, and Lori Gardner. We have a long-standing partnership with Larry Smith and his Jazz Kicks Band as well as Kenneth Bell who provides sound and light for the show.
This year (2018-19) the Celebrate America Show is proud to be starting some new traditions. We are changing our name to be the Stardust Big Band Show…which we think reflects the magic of an evening of music from an age gone by. Our show is now held in the Cache Events Center located on the Cache Valley Fairgrounds. Our mission is to keep this wonderful music alive and thriving in our community, to honor veterans and those currently serving in our military, and to provide a quality musical and entertainment experience for our community members. We are grateful to the Cache Valley Rapz committee for their support of our show each year.
Jan Richins grew up in Logan with 10 older brothers and sisters. They all love music. She has been married to Ron Richins for 32 years. They have 3 children and 2 grandsons. Jan owned a dance studio for 30 years and has coached and judged for many high school drill teams over the years. She runs 2 dance competitions every year and is currently the executive director for the Stardust Big Band Show.She has done choreography for the Stardust Big Band show for 10 years and has been a co-director for the last 3 years. She has been singing and dancing her entire life and has enjoyed being in musicals at Ellen Eccles Theater as well as performing 1940’s style music with 2 sisters and country music with 2 brothers.She is also in an all girls band called the mood swings. Currently she works for Southwest Spine and Pain Center. She is super excited to be a part of the Stardust Big Band Show.
Karen Teuscher is the Music Director of the Stardust Big Band Show. In the show, Karen works with the singers, coordinates with the band, designs and cleans singer choreography, and writes scripts. She also works behind the scenes with Jan on costuming, publicity, fundraising, and general committee work. Karen is the director of choirs at Green Canyon High School, where she has been teaching for 2 years. Prior to Green Canyon High School, Karen taught at Sky View HS for 8 years, North Cache Middle School for 3 years, and Thomas Edison Charter School for 2 years. She has served on the state board for Orff Schulwerk as the membership secretary, been a guest conductor for local honor choirs, and regularly plays the flute in the Cache Ballet Orchestra that plays for the Nutcracker each year. She is a member of the USU Alumni band, and performs as a flutist in the community every chance she gets. Karen’s choir students are well-known in the community for their high quality performances and service. When she has free time, Karen enjoys being in musicals, reading books, taking walks, and loves to visit the beach. Karen has four children, and has had all of them involved in the show as performers, dancers, and techies. The Stardust Big Band Show has become a family affair, and we love it! Karen’s favorite parts of the show are the tender acapella numbers, the funny men’s numbers, our tribute to veterans, and singing the classic dance sets at the end of the show.