Tahoe Dance Band to bring swing music to Ormsby House

Tahoe Dance Band

3-6 p.m. Sunday, March 11

Rose Ballroom, Ormsby House

600 South Carson Street

Admission $5

When conductor Brian Farnon taps his baton for attention Sunday, a minister, a retired pilot, a chiropractor and a clutch of former high school teachers will be among those waiting for him to set the tempo.

The Tahoe Dance Band is made up of life-long music lovers for whom playing in a swing band was more of a fantasy than a professional goal.

But now they are playing Dorsey and Miller tunes several weekends a month throughout Carson Country, as much for their own enjoyment as for the appreciation of dancers and music lovers.

"They absolutely love it. Music's been a hobby for all of them. I'm the only one who made a career of it," Farnon said Thursday.

Farnon was musical director for the orchestra at Harrah's Lake Tahoe for 25 years, providing the music for showroom celebrities until he retired five years ago.

"But, after a while, I got bored and pulled out the music and started talking to folks. We got together and pretty soon we had a band," he said.

The Tahoe Dance Band will perform in the Rose Ballroom on the second floor of the Ormsby House the second Sunday of each month the remainder of the year, Farnon said.

With admission at the band's dances only $5, performing remains more of a hobby than a profession for the musicians.

"The Ormsby House is providing the ballroom, but we're putting this on ourselves," Farnon said. "We sit at the door and collect admission and what ever we get, that's it.

"One time we only made $17, but we all had fun."

Bob Setterfield, a trombone player from Carson City, is a retired Pan Am pilot. George Worth is a chiropractor from South Lake Tahoe. Gil Linsley, pastor of Carson City's United Religious Science Church, also is among the musicians sitting behind music stands built by orchestra manager Al Smith. Four or five of the musicians taught music in high schools, Farnon said.

"We all provide our own instruments, our gas money to get there and all that," he said.

Mike Hyams, marketing director for the Ormsby House, suggested the afternoon timing for the dances. Hyams said the hotel had success with afternoon dances a few years ago, so the Tahoe Dance Band will give it a shot.

The 17-member band has had a number of gigs since it formed, ranging from the upscale fund-raiser for the Piper's Opera House's restoration two weeks ago to a dance for the Douglas County wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

"For the Civil Air Patrol, we were right in the big green hanger at the Minden-Tahoe Airport," Farnon said. "It was a lot of fund and they've asked us back again this year."

The band will also play March 16 at the Lightning W. Ranch for a fund raiser for the University of Nevada, Reno ski team and March 17 at the Hyatt Incline village for the Incline Rotary Club's St. Patrick's Day dance.

The Hyatt will be the site of three Saturday night dances April 22, May 14 and June 3, 8-11 p.m., Farnon said. But the Hyatt will be remodeling the room over the summer and no dances are scheduled there past June.

For folks who would like to join the action on the dance floor, lessons are available from a number of instructors in Carson City.

For more information, call Farnon at 775-588-8177,


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