Plain City gets into the swing with big band dance

Messenger photos by Mike Munden

Kathy and Ben Cosgray work on a dance lesson at the Plain City Library as they prepare for the Plain City Big Band Dance to be held at St. Joseph Activity Center, 670 W. Main St., from 6:30 to 10 p.m. May 2.  The last free dance lesson will take place April 29.

Dance instructor Steve Dashner (right) and volunteer Kelly Syfert lead a dance lesson at the Plain City Library as everyone prepares for the Plain City Big Band Dance to be held at St. Joseph Activity Center, 670 W. Main St., from 6:30 to 10 p.m. May 2.

Step back into the 1940s and the days of swing with the music of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller played by central Ohio’s own "Classic Swing" big band at the Plain City Public Library Big Band Dance on May 2.

The event is free and open to dancers and spectators of all ages. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a brief ceremony at 7 before the band takes center stage at the St. Joseph Activity Center, 670 W. Main St., in Plain City until 10 p.m.

“It’s going to be an old-fashioned, nostalgic evening of community entertainment, including cookies and lemonade,” said Chris Long, library director. “You don’t get many opportunities to go to a dance with a live big band. This is the same band that played at a similar event a few years ago.”

The opening ceremony features a color guard, communal singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and welcoming remarks from Plain City Mayor Sandra Adkins.

“Then the evening jumps straight into the music,” Long said. “During the dance, we’ll play a rotating slide show with his-torical images of Plain City and pictures of veterans past and present. Anyone can drop off a copy of a photograph of a veteran for the slide show up until the dance. All we ask is that they include the person’s name and branch of service.”

Youth Services Librarian Amanda Green said the library—which is sponsoring the dance along with the Convalarium at Indian Run, VFW Post 3268, and the Friends of Plain City Public Library—is encouraging people to come in 1940s-style clothing to add to the period atmosphere. Members of the Plain City Historical Society will be on hand to reminisce about the village’s heritage.

“The last time we did this was three years ago at Plain City Elementary and about 200 people showed up,” Green said. "It is something we always wanted to do again, and we had some sponsors volunteer to help out this year. St. Joseph volunteered the use of their event facility and everything is free to the public.

“This is a way to bring the community together in a fun way, keep the event in Plain City, and honor the city’s history and veterans.”

Planning for the dance started months ago and included free swing lessons offered by the Friends of the Library on three separate occasions in April. Fifteen to 20 couples took advantage of the chance to hone their skills or study new steps from instructor Steve Dashner.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to swing dance and this was the perfect opportunity,” said Kathy Cosgray. “I’ve never done it before, but my dad used to listen to big band music all the time and I’ve always enjoyed it. (My husband Ben and I) have learned the box step and the basic step, but trying not to step on each other is a big goal.

“We’ve been married almost 40 years, and over the years we got into one dance style and mode, so it will be nice to try a different style. I’m looking forward to the whole thing and I’ve talked to a lot of people who plan to go to just listen to the music.”

For details, call the Plain City Public Library at 614-873-4912.

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