By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – A tradition spanning about 20 years will continue Thursday, Aug. 28, from 7 to 9 p.m., when Dom V and the Swing Out Big Band concludes the Mayor's 2014 Summer Concert Series at Union Common. This follows the band's appearance in May as musical entertainment at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce's 90th Anniversary Gatsby Gala.
The band is led by Marlborough resident Domenic Valarioti, who strives to keep his favorite musical style alive.
“Big band swing music comes from a person's soul,” he said. “It's a lost art. Most of the music you hear now is computer generated.”
Valarioti began playing accordion at age 7. As a teenager, he took piano lessons from Marlborough native Randy Rando, who now lives in Florida. His father, Joseph Valarioti, encouraged him to perform in Marlborough at what is now known at the Wildwood Steakhouse.
“My first gig was at the Wildwood when I was 13,” he explained. “It wasn's a steakhouse then; it was a bar with entertainment nightly except Mondays and Tuesdays. My dad brought me there and said, “You'se going to sit in with the band on a Wednesday night – a slow night.””
The teen accordionist played several songs with a trio of musicians and he loved the experience.
“All the older guys took me under their wing and taught me,” he relayed. “They would invite me to their gigs. It was their way to give back.”
Valarioti studied at Berklee College of Music and the University of Lowell. In the 1970s, he performed with the Music Masters led by his longtime mentor, Rudy Weeks of Shrewsbury. He also played with the house band at the Chateau DeVille in Framingham and Randolph.
“I played gigs on weekends and it helped me through college,” he said. “I's come home with $90 a weekend.”
In the early 1990s, Valarioti formed his own band with help from his mentor, Rudy Weeks.
“My band was known for rehearsing weekly,” he noted. “Guys would call me and say, “I want to come down and play; I want to exercise my reading chops.” Musicians want to challenge their ability to read music ahead of what they'se playing. They'se always looking ahead at the manuscript two or three measures ahead.”
In 1993, Valarioti produced his first swing dance at the Marlborough clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs. He invited a competitive swing dancer to give lessons while his band played. Next, he rented the Holiday Inn afternoons for “Swinging Sundays.”
Most of the 18 band members live in or around Boston. Some are teachers at the Berklee College of Music. Mark Holovnia of Shrewsbury is the band's drummer.
Among the many other venues where the band has performed are Chamberlain Hall in Watertown, Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Sheraton Hyannis, Winchester Town Hall and Worcester Military Museum.
And every summer, the Swing Out Big Band entertains at Union Common in Valarioti's hometown of Marlborough. Just as mentors helped Valarioti at a young age, he uses the summer concert as an opportunity to showcase the talent of budding musicians. Last year, he invited students of the Marlborough High School Jazz Ensemble to join him onstage. The invitation has been extended again this year.
“We told them to come with their instruments and they can sit in with us,” Valarioti said.
Also returning for the upcoming concert will be Valarioti's childhood piano teacher, Randy Rando.
The concert is free. There's no rain date. Fortunately, only once in about 20 years was this band's concert canceled due to inclement weather.