Chattanooga Now Chattanooga Symphony & Opera presents 'Big Band Fever!'

Chattanooga Now Chattanooga Symphony & Opera presents 'Big Band Fever!'

Guest clarinetist Fred Lemmons returns home to add some Benny Goodman swing to CSO performance

February 14th, 2018 by Susan Pierce in Chattnow Music

Big Band Fever! will have two dance floors for audience members to swing dance with the CSO's music.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: Big Band Fever!

› Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

› When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 16-17

› Admission: $15-$85

› For more information: 423-267-8583

Fred Lemmons

Fred Lemmons

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A hometown son returns to perform a tribute to his music teacher and mentor, the late Jay Craven, when the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera presents "Big Band Fever!"

The pops concert will be presented Friday and Saturday nights, Feb. 16-17, in the Tivoli Theatre.

Fred Lemmons, a clarinetist who played with the U.S. Marine Band before retiring as its Operations Chief, will join conductor Bob Bernhardt and the CSO to perform classics by Benny Goodman during the program of swing music. The guest soloist will play with the CSO on 11 of the concert's numbers.

"I will be performing many of Goodman's favorite hits and an Artie Shaw tune," Lemmons said in an email. "Bob did request that I play 'Sing, Sing, Sing' just like Jay Craven did, and I am dedicating that tune to him.

"It's a huge honor to play with my hometown symphony. When Jay played in the symphony, he used to speak of Bob with high regard as a wonderful conductor and gentleman," Lemmons says.

After retiring from "The President's Own," Lemmons moved to Asheville, N.C., where he played with three orchestras, was principal clarinet for the Asheville Lyric Opera and played chamber music with Pan Harmonia. After teaching clarinet at Mars Hill University seven years, he and wife Heather moved to Lexington, Ky.

Concert patrons can enjoy the music from the comfort of their seats, or get up and dance on either of two dance floors. Kyle Barels from Dance Tonight Chattanooga will give free dance lessons before each show at 6:45 p.m. He will also perform a spotlight dance during each concert with his dance partner.

"Big Band Fever audiences span a wide range of ages," says Samantha Teter, CSO executive director. "Several couples come to Big Band Fever as their Valentine's date night, and it's great fun to see people dress up in their finest dance wear or red/pink attire. We also have many who just love to sit and watch the dancers and enjoy the music from their seats. It's one of our most fun concerts of the season."

Tickets start at $21, with discounts for students and educators. They can be purchased by calling the CSO Box Office at 423-267-8583 or online at

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.

About Fred Lemmons

Graduate of Brainerd High School

Bachelor’s degree in music education from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Master’s degree in clarinet performance from Louisiana State University

Joined U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C., “The President’s Own,” in 1988

Served 21 years with U.S. Marine Band

Retired as Operations Chief of the U.S. Marine Band

Performed at the White House for five presidents

Principal clarinet for the Asheville, N.C., Lyric Opera

Performed with Asheville Symphony and Pan Harmonia

Clarinet professor at Mars Hill University 2010-2017