bennett harmon orlando big band athens theatre
LEADER OF THE BAND — Orlando Big Band leader Bennett Harmon leads his spectacular big-band ensemble. The band will perform in concert at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave. in Downtown DeLand. PHOTOS COURTESY OF WAYNE BENNETT AND REG GARNER

Hometown favorites the Orlando Big Band will once again be bringing their holiday spectacular to the historic Athens Theatre in picturesque Downtown DeLand. Brimming with nostalgia, comfort, and winter-wonderland magic, this show features the holiday songs we all know and love in their original, authentic arrangements.

With favorite Yuletide tunes made famous by Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, the Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and more, these are the songs that we all associate with the “most wonderful time of the year.”

The Orlando Big Band will play two shows — at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. — on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Athens.

BIG-BAND MUSICIANS — These are a few of the members who make up the melodious Orlando Big Band.

Led by Bennett Harmon (who, fun fact, began his musical career as a classically trained tubist for the Chicago and Indianapolis symphonies), the OBB features a 20-piece band and four vocalists! With his trademark sequined smoking jackets, Harmon, alongside his vocalists and musicians in all their finery, evokes the formality and revelry of the post-World War II era.

MUSICIANS IN ACTION — Shannon McClernan and Orlando Big Band leader Bennett Harmon play a swinging duet.

A true family-oriented show perfect for audiences of all ages, the Orlando Big Band’s performances at the Athens, five days before Christmas, fit the bill for all things merry and bright! Audiences can expect to hear such instantly recognizable melodies as Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” the iconic “Sisters” duet from Bing’s classic film White Christmas, and a few fun and innovative “big-bandized” songs like Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and a version of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” done to a fanciful, tropical, Latin beat!

Harmon and his talented team believe in carrying the spirit of giving far beyond the month of Noël. Since 2012, through their charity Band Preservation Inc. (, they have donated more than 4,000 instruments and considerable monetary contributions to aspiring local musicians.

WONDERFUL SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS — Songstress Jenna Lynn Newman belts out those wonderful Christmas hits. Newman and the Orlando Big Band will perform two shows — at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. — on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave. in Downtown DeLand.

All in all, we can’t think of a more fulfilling Christmas-week event that truly encompasses the essence of the season. Gather your loved ones, and enjoy this memorable night out, with shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. Let the Orlando Big Band take you and yours “Home for the Holidays!”

Tickets cost $35 for preferred reserved seating (first six rows orchestra, and two rows center balcony); $30 for adults; $25 for senior citizens and veterans; and $11 for students and children. A $4-per-ticket processing charge and 6.5-percent sales tax will be added to each purchase.

All tickets and information are available online at the Athens Theatre website (, or by calling the box office at 386-736-1500.

Box-office hours are 1-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1 1/2 hours before live performances.


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