November 2011

November 2011: Charity Corner - Big Band Swing

Author: Lisa Nowak

Get ready for the event of the year, as Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) and The Junior Jazz Foundation (JJF) take us back to the swinging ’40s. Inspired by VIM founder Dr. Jack McConnell’s passion for music, the event is a tribute to McConnell’s commitment to the organization, which he started in 1993—the first clinic of its kind to utilize the skills of retired doctors and nurses to provide free healthcare for underserved individuals and their families in the community. Today, VIM serves nearly 14,000 patients a year, and the need continues to grow.

The Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa will set the stage for the event, as the ballroom is transformed into a 1940’s-style nightclub, complete with martini bar, and swing dancing, compliments of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. But it’s the music that will set the evening apart. Direct from Atlanta, Joe Gransden, his 16-piece band and Annie Sellick will be the hit of the event as they belt out the songbooks of greats such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Count Basie.

A talented trumpet player, bandleader and vocalist, Gransden is currently one of the foremost figures on the Atlanta jazz scene. At age 38, he has performed for crowds all over the world, as well as privately for celebrities such as Clint Eastwood. After hearing Gransden perform, Eastwood said, “Joe is a young man with an old soul and a classic voice. He is a great new talent with a wonderful sense of humor to boot. And don’t forget, he plays a hell of a trumpet!”

Gransden’s counterpart is the equally talented, sultry siren of jazz, Annie Sellick. While often compared to greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sellick has a presence that is all her own.

“It’s quite obvious she owns the room the minute she begins to sing. Her stage presence and delivery are second to none,” Gransden said.

Hailing from Nashville, Sellick has had the opportunity to sing with a talented pool of Nashville-based jazz players, and this experience comes through loud and clear when she is on stage with Gransden.

“Annie and Joe have chemistry like no other when they are performing together. Their energy is contagious and always has the crowd begging for more at the end of the evening,” said Bob Masteller, musician and owner of the renowned Jazz Corner here on Hilton Head Island.

In standard 1940’s nightclub style, tables will be set up in a half-moon shape around the back of the table, so that every person in the house has a great view of this dynamic duo and the accompanying 16-piece band. Tickets are currently available as either $100 individual seats or $1,200 Preferred Tables of 8, which will include upgrades such as finer wines, additional wait staff and a gift bag. All proceeds from the event will benefit both VIM and JJF, a charity dedicated to preserving the great American art form of jazz by supplying young musicians with instruments, scholarships and classes.

Word about this unique event is spreading quickly and space is limited. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience two world-class jazz musicians perform together while enjoying the ambiance of an unforgettable era. Tickets are available by contacting VIM at (843) 689-6612 or Once your tickets are purchased, don’t forget your dancing shoes. Big Band Swing is sure to be an event that will light up the town!

When: Thursday, November 17
6 p.m. Cocktail Hour
6:30 p.m. Evening Begins

Where: Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, Palmetto Dunes

Cost: $100 individual ticket; $1,200 Preferred Table of 8

Details: Cocktails, music, dinner and dancing to honor VIM founder Dr. Jack McConnell. Nightclub attire recommended (no black tie).

Contact: (843) 689-6612 or

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