General Assembly was formed in the fall of 1971 by a group of
musicians from the Ludington, Michigan area . The players enjoyed
the sounds of the big bands and wanted to regularly play the music
long associated with such names as Basie, Kenton, Herman, Miller,
the Dorseys, and others. Since that time the band has performed
throughout Michigan, from the Detroit area to Traverse City, while
receiving requests for appearances from as far away as San
Francisco. Audiences have responded with "The best in the Midwest,"
"Great performance," "We should have had a dance floor," and "Our
audience insists you come back next year."
Many of the band members have been employed outside the field of
music. A partial list of occupations includes doctors, dairy
farmers, teachers, the operator of an automobile recycling center,
an attorney, and a college president. While most of these performers
are not full time musicians, they all have extensive training and
experience. Some are professionals who have settled down to a
steadier life but continue to play for their love of the music. As
musicians have left throughout the years replacements have come from
a continuously larger area, with some traveling over 100 miles one
way to rehearse with the group on a regular basis.
director of The General Assembly is its lead trombonist, Tom
Sheppardson, who holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in music
education and has an extensive performance background, ranging from
Dixieland jazz to the symphony orchestra. He has performed with such
notables as Louis Armstrong, Max Roach, The Temptations, Bobby
Vinton, Henry Mancini, Peter Nero, and many others.
While many groups advertise the "big band sound," The General
Assembly is not just a combo playing old songs. It is a full 17
piece orchestra with female vocalist performing the best of the old
and new in music for dancing and listening.
Please contact us
if you'd like to arrange a performance either in concert or for