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September 24, 2004 > Big & 'Small' Bands Play for Stage 1's Awards Ceremony

Big & 'Small' Bands Play for Stage 1's Awards Ceremony

by Joanne Engelhardt

Eleven years ago, Stage 1 Community Theatre began an annual tradition of honoring the casts, staffs and crews of their productions at an awards ceremony. This year's event, on Saturday, Oct. 2, features not one but two musical treats: The 15-piece U.S.S. Hornet Big Band, which will play after dinner, and the 10-piece Yowza Band, which will play during the cocktail hour.

Stage 1's Awards Ceremony begins at 6 p.m. at the Elks Club in Fremont. After dinner, awards will be presented to 2003-2004 winners from five productions (Into the Woods, Wit, 42nd Street, Sylvia and Annie Get Your Gun). Dancing and a silent auction will complete the evening.

If you're unfamiliar with the Yowza Band, it's not surprising. They're not looking for publicity, says band member Jim Reese, Newark's assistant city manager. Started about eight years ago by Police Captain Lance Morrison, the band is made up of Newark city officials and other city employees from the police and fire departments.

Today they play for charitable and community events such as the Newark City Awards Dinner, Newark Days and the Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) annual dinner.

Besides Reese and Morrison, band members include Mayor Dave Smith, Firefighter Gary Owens, Police Officer Joel Luevano, City Manager Al Huezo, Administrative Support Specialist Laurie Gebhard, City Attorney Gary Gailiano, retired Fire Captain Jim Comfort and Fire Battalian Chief Brian Caminada.

Reese describes their music as eclectic- "everything from jazz to the Beatles. We practice whenever we can get together," he adds. "One thing we do is have fun."

Tickets are $50 per person for the evening. Call (510) 791-0287 or go to for more information.

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