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Band NamePhoto by Jim McGann

Richard Barnes & Blackbird Society Orchestra
Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 2pm


Community Arts Center
414 Plush Mill Road
Wallingford, PA 19086

Richard Barnes brings his popular 20s-era band back to commemorate Eddie Lang Day. Come early, his concerts draw large crowds. 


Visit the Blackbird Society Orchestra website.



Band Personnel

Richard Barnes - guitar, vocals
Glenn Cowen - drums
Bill Quinn - banjo, accordian
Eunice China - violin
Charlie Ford - bass
Jeff Hart - saxophone, clarinet
Walt Blauvent - saxophone, clarinet
Bill DiBiase - saxophone, clarinet
Rob Ford - trumpets
Alex Gittleman - trumpets
James Gicking - trombone
Spencer Kasmanian - piano


Working from bandleader Richard Barnes' collection of original vintage stock charts and arrangements, BSO authentically and accurately recreates many classic jazz recordings that once spun from scratchy 78 RPM records on a Victrola when the world was still in black and white! Barnes discovered the recently-deceased jazz/blues guitarist and vocalist Leon Redbone in 1992, playing regionally with him for a decade. He also spent five years performing obscure 1920s jazz with the Kim Milliner Band. In 1997, Barnes formed BSO with the intention of preserving 1920s jazz in note-for-note re-creations using original stock charts and transcriptions from vintage recordings. Thirteen years later, he launched Eddie Lang Day, an annual music/charity event celebrating the musical contributions of the native Philadelphian and pioneer jazz guitarist (nee Salvatore Massaro), who teamed with his boyhood pal, violinist Joe Venuti, to form one of the all-time legendary duos in jazz history. 

Self-taught on plectrum/tenor banjo, accordion, piano, and drums, Bill Quinn is a three-decade Mummer veteran, having played banjo in the Fralinger String Band. He is also a former snare drummer for the Camden County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, with which he performed for President George W. Bush. Bill has been heard at Disney World and during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and he appeared on ABC-TV’s The View with Frankie “Fats” Montana.

Spencer Kashmanian has played ragtime and stride piano, sometimes alongside Barnes on guitar, at the re-created speakeasy C. R. Hummingbird to Mars in Wilmington, DE for the past several years.

Drummer Glenn Cowen has a degree in percussion from the University of PA and is the Director of Bands at Upper Moreland High School in Willow Grove. He performs with regular BSO fiddler Dr. Michael Salsburg in the country-rock band Hank’s Cadillac.

Eunice China is a member of the violin faculty at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance, of which she is an alumna. She has also played with numerous Philadelphia-area chamber orchestras and ensembles

Trumpeter Rob Ford, who has a Music Education degree from West Chester University, spent over two decades teaching music in Abington and as a private instructor. He has also performed in all styles of music as a freelance player in the Philadelphia area and NE Pa for many years. Rob’s current associations include the BSO, Pennsylvania German Brass Band and the Galena Brass.

Alex Gittelman (second trumpet) is a proud graduate of Haverford High School Class of '05. While at Haverford, Gittelman participated in every musical ensemble, followed by a stint with the Philadelphia Grammy Jazz Band for two years. He then served as the lead trumpeter in the PMEA All-State Jazz Band for another two years, plus the All-Eastern Jazz Band in 2005. Gittelman graduated from the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with a Jazz Component. He played with various ensembles at Temple, including the Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, Jazz Combos, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, and Marching Band. Gittelman earned his Master of Music Education degree from the University of the Arts in 2016, while serving as an instrumental music teacher in the Pennsbury School District.

Charlie Ford on bass is Rob Ford's 16 year old son!

Apart from a seven-year stint in New York in the late 70s with jazz record companies A&M, Artists House, and CTI Records, where he worked with Jim Hall, Art Pepper, Chet Baker, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis among others, trombonist Jim Gicking has lived in the Philadelphia area, also playing guitar in big bands, small groups, and pit orchestras. He fell in love with the music of the 20s and 30s after hearing Marty Grosz on NPR's Fresh Air, and Marty has become a friend and a mentor.

Clarinetist/alto saxist Jeff Hart studied Music Education at Duquesne University and Jazz Performance at the University of Toledo. He is currently band director at Haverford High School, and he loves all antiques, including his 1914 Victrola phonograph and vintage 78 RPM records.

Boston native Walt Blauvelt, whose clarinet and tenor sax are heard with the BSO, played with the Boston Youth Jazz Band and was a soloist with the MA All-State Band, all while attending the Berklee College of Music. He went on to graduate from the University of MA and later American University, followed by service in the U.S. Marine Band, "The President's Own."

Dr. Bill Dibias started as a saxophonist in Philadelphia string bands in 1959 and served as Music Director and arranger for the Ferko String Band for much of the 1970s and 1980s. He has played baritone sax with the Chester County Concert Band, the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds, Archie Lane's Big Band, and 22 Park Avenue. Bill holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, of which he is Professor Emeritus at Delaware County Community College.

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