ABOUT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The General Assembly Big Band was formed by a collection of West Michigan musicians looking for an opportunity to perform big band jazz. The name "General Assembly" was chosen to reflect the wide variety of the musicians' backgrounds. Although several of the band members were professional music educators, most of them earned their livings in a wide variety of other vocations.
The band was initially formed and directed by Barney Barnett of Ludington, Michigan, in the 1960s. After Barney's retirement from the band in the 1970s, the band was led by trombonist Tom Sheppardson of Scottville until his passing in 2020. Believing that preserving live big band music is important to the culture of West Michigan, the band transformed itself into a nonprofit performing arts organization in February of 2020. The organization is now a tax-exempt corporation governed by a four-member board of directors. The band is currently under the leadership of President and trumpet soloist Richard Granger (pictured below) and Music Director and trombonist Pat Parrish.
In keeping with the mission to preserve live performance of Big Band Swing and Jazz Era music, the band planned to produce a series of free public concerts for the summer of 2020. The 2020 series was canceled due to Corona Virus concerns. We hope to be able to offer a series of free concerts in the summer of 2021 and hope to see you there.