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Remembering The Scranton Sirens, A WVIA Original Documentary Film World Premieres October 5 on WVIA TV
(2011-09-23)
The Scranton Sirens featured here in 1921 are the subject of the WVIA Original Documentary Film, “Remembering The Scranton Sirens,” which world premieres Wednesday, Oct 5 at 8 p.m. on WVIA TV.
(wvia) - "Remembering The Scranton Sirens", which premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. on WVIA TV is a one-hour WVIA original documentary film that celebrates the exceptional musical legacy of one of the most significant but unheralded "territory" dance bands in American musical history, The Scranton Sirens; revisits our region in the Roaring 20's; and celebrates its little-known artistic legacy that defined a nation as powerfully as King Coal.

In 1920, Scranton, Pennsylvania, was a place that helped put the roar in the "Roaring 20s." The city's diverse industrial base produced commodities the nation coveted, from anthracite coal to Nottingham lace. Its dynamic immigrant population portrayed the forward-looking face of modern American society. And its darling red-light and gambling districts drew thousands from outside the city by train and car. Scranton was a city in which suffrage and the flapper were compounded with prohibition and the speakeasy. In this era before the proliferation of vinyl records, jukeboxes and radio broadcasts, the Scranton Sirens was born.

During its 10-year existence, the Scranton Sirens reached a performance pinnacle by playing in the major dance emporiums in the United States. Within its east coast niche, the band commanded both huge crowds and the respect of the finest bandleaders of the dance-band era, such as Ted Lewis and Paul Whiteman. Most importantly, the band introduced iconic artists such as Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Russ Morgan, and Bill Challis, whose phenomenal musical innovation presaged their international fame and profoundly influenced the Big Band era. The Scranton Sirens reputation reflected the vivacious mood of post-World War One America and the "work hard, play hard" spirit of the city from which the band took its name.

"Remembering The Scranton Sirens" recreates the band's music to reflect a facet of Jazz's stylistic evolution in the early decades of the 20th century. Musical Director and Creative Consultant Vince Giordano studied arranging under Bill Challis, and authentically recreates four original Sirens' recordings on-camera with his 11-piece band "The Nighthawks," who are currently featured on the CD "Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1 Music From the HBO Original Series." Giordano's tonal recreation sonorously relives the early careers of Challis, the Dorsey brothers and Russ Morgan, and introduces viewers to the exquisite craft and art of playing Jazz music.

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