What do you get when a dozen enthusiastic instrumentalists and a retired school band director, all with the vision to create a civically-minded jazz band, come together?
Luckily for New Carlisle and the surrounding areas, the result was Down by the Dock.
What makes this group unique is that its slogan, “generations of jazz”, is born of the actual familial relationships within the band.
A daughter/mother/granddaughter team, brothers, a father with his children, and spousal relationships all make family an instrumental aspect of the band (pun intended).
In addition, the musical selections range from big-band classics, such as “Sing, Sing, Sing”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, and others from the golden age of swing, to modern-day classics originally performed by such artists as Bon Jovi, Coldplay, Cee Lo Green, Adele, and many others.
Occasionally, local Elvis impersonator, Alvie Ellenwine, even joins to perform the classic “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.
Even their Hudson Lake rehearsal hall, the grand ballroom of the old Blue Lantern Casino, now Monroe’s Crossing, is ideal. The location possesses the spirit of the big bands that performed there in the 1920s and 1930s.
The original members were inspired to name the band Down by the Dock since Monroe’s Crossing is literally down by a dock, and it also allowed the group to pay homage to their musical leader, Richard “Doc” Sprague.
Within months of the group’s inception, the band was invited to play at several local events. The response was overwhelming due to the band’s powerful sound with such a wide variety of music.
Since then, the group has been honored with the position of “official entertainment” of the annual Taste Of New Carlisle, given prime-time spots at the Home Town Days event, been honored to play during the August Concerts in the Park series in New Carlisle and the Sunflower Fest in LaPorte, and have been key performers at a number of charity events, including several fundraisers and the Alpha One Walk-A-Thon in Mishawaka.
Their performance at the Century Center in South Bend, entertaining the incredible women and their families from the All American Girls Baseball League whose story was told in the movie “A League Of Their Own”, was ethereal.
The band is currently considering an offer to perform for their next reunion in Sarasota, Florida in the fall of 2016.
In the end, Down By the Dock comes down to a simple concept.
If people who genuinely like each other, who have an internal desire to make music that people want to listen to, and are willing to put in the time and effort to do it right can find each other, good things will happen.
Come hear Down by the Dock at the Taste of New Carlisle on Saturday, June 25 from 1 to 6 PM EST.