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“The Swing” Goes to Church (and Beyond)

Since it was originally written in 1910 by an alum and two students, the “Washington and Lee Swing” has been performed in every venue imaginable, from football stadiums to New Orleans jazz clubs. But here’s a new one on us: the United Church of Christ First Congregational in Norwich, N.Y., has apparently been using the “Swing” regularly for its annual Dixieland Jazz Service, which is a summer union service with neighboring congregations. The 13th annual event was this past Sunday, July 11, and we spotted a mention of the service on a blog this week and then went to the source, the church’s own website where there is a YouTube video from the 2009 service.

This got to us wondering about what other YouTube videos featuring the “Swing” might be out there. So we did a search and uncovered an impressed array of videos. The range from home video of the Rice Lake High School Marching Band to a rehearsal of the Gotsland Jazzband in Visby, Sweden, to the performance of a pickup band playing aboard the Holland America MAASDAM in 2008.

A few of the “videos” are actually original audio of old records with a few slides. One is Jerry Shard’s rendition, and another is Louis Armstrong with the Dukes of Dixieland.

To see all the YouTube results, you can go to this link. Chances are you’ll find your own favorite, but the one below — the New Orleans Hall Jazzband of Zurich peforming on a rainy June afternoon last year — is illustrative of what you’ll find: