Several years ago a recently retired armaments repairman looked for new ways to couple his substantial musical talents with his now-plentiful spare time. Via the Wallingford (CT) Senior Center he sought other "seasoned" jazz musicians interested in gathering there for an occasional jam session. Four sufficiently aged senior citizens showed up at the first meeting. Together they "didn't sound bad", and they sure had fun! Other musicians joined in, and in time a 6 or 7-piece group was setting up every Friday afternoon to "rehearse" and entertain whoever else showed up at the senior center just to listen. They became the WSC "house band", eventually calling themselves the "Survivors" in acknowledgement of some of the original band members who had passed away in the meantime, as well as in recognition of those beloved old melodies that remained favorites despite the passage of the decades.
And, as they say, the rest is history: In twelve active years the "Survivors Swing Band" has now performed on over 750 occasions at such establishments and at other venues all over Connecticut and also beyond its borders. These include malls, libraries, schools, restaurants, municipal auditoriums and pavilions, backyard parties, wedding celebrations, and even a hot dog stand (yes, really, a hot dog stand!). We have brought back some great musical memories for innumerable seniors and other fans (both young and old!) of Swing-era music.
Jules Bashkin (Alto Sax) - our "most seasoned" member and our chief marketeer, played saxophone as kid during the Swing era. He put the horn away upon settling into family life in his early 20's, and then unpacked it for first time again upon retiring from a sales career at the age of 84. For over 10 years he has re-honed his musical skills and played with the Survivors since its "house band" days. Upon celebrating his 100th (yes, ONE HUNDREDTH) birthday in December 2021, our dear Jules has decided to give his saxophone a rest again, but he actively continues to market his favorite jazz band with as much energy as ever! (Now and again, at the ripe young age of 101, he will join us on saxophone for an occasional gig!).
Lauren Humpage (Bass, Vocals) - an original member of the Survivors, has been musically active in Connecticut since the early 1960's and has made a half-dozen professional recordings. For fifteen years he was a member of the house band at the Griswold Inn in Essex. Lauren also is a member of the aforementioned 20th Century Jazz Limited group.
Sandra Wittman (Piano) - is a classically trained pianist who spent many years as a music educator in both New York and Connecticut. She currently embraces her enjoyment of the piano by providing worship music at her local church in Massachusetts--and skillfully performing in the jazz idiom with the Survivors Swing Band.