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Big-band Concert on July 9 to Celebrate Armory Workers

SPRINGFIELD — On Saturday, July 9, the Springfield Armory National Historic Site will commemorate the 1943 Benny Goodman concert which was held on the Armory grounds. Attendees will enjoy the sounds of Dan Gabel and the Abletones, hear rousing vocalists, and swing on the dance floor after free swing lessons. Admission is free.

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with free swing-dance lessons from instructors Michele and Bob Barker. Pre-concert and intermission shows will feature the Small Planet Dancers of Springfield, performing World War II-era dance routines.

The main concert, running from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will feature Dan Gabel and the Abletones, an 18-piece big band. Gabel played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Tommy Dorsey, and is considered an expert on big-band-era music. The ensemble features lead vocalist Elise Roth.

Attendees are invited to bring a chair or blanket and enjoy a picnic supper or purchase items from the food vendor on site. The museum, which is wheelchair-accessible, will remain open during the concert. In the case of rain, the concert will move into Building 2 (Scibelli Hall) of Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), where it will be held in the gymnasium.

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates and preserves the site of the nation’s first armory, established in 1794. Managed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, STCC, and the National Park Service, it is the home of the world’s largest historic American military firearms collection. The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, call (413) 734-8551 or visit www.nps.gov/spar.

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