The W.D. Packard Concert Band will keep its holiday season swinging with a concert Friday.
While the full band - and several guests - performed Sunday, "Jingle Bell Swing" will feature the Big Band Sound of Packard with vocalist Helen Welch. This is the fifth year for the concert.
Thomas Groth, executive director of the band, said, "It's grown every year. Last year we probably had about 1,200 people."
The concert features big band arrangements of such holiday favorites as "Jingle Bells," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "White Christmas," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and Louis Armstrong's "'Zat You Santa Claus."
"It draws a lot of the same people (as the full band concert), but it gets a whole new audience in that likes big band music," Groth said. "Helen is a very good entertainer. They come here to see her, and the big band is a good band."
Welch, who grew up in England and now lives in Akron, started doing the "Jingle Bell Swing" shows in 2006 and has performed them with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.
She'll do two "Jingle Bell Swing" concerts backed by a trio next week at the Akron Civic Theatre's cabaret, one of which already is sold out. And while tickets are $25 per person / $40 per couple in Akron, admission to the show in Warren is free.
"Jingle Bell Swing" starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren. Funding is provided by the W.D. Packard trust. For more information, call 330-841-2931