ABOUT EVOLUTION BIG BAND
The Evolution Big Band is Bluffton, South Carolina’s hometown All-Star Big Band, playing jazz standards with a contemporary flare. The band features 17 of the top jazz musicians in the Lowcountry who are committed to keeping big band music alive and thriving.
Founded in 2004 as the Stardust Orchestra, the all-volunteer group includes some of the top jazz musicians in the Lowcountry. With a library of more than 2,000 arrangements spanning a range of swing and jazz styles, the band features songs made popular by Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and contemporary arrangements popularized by the Tonight Show Orchestra, Buddy Rich, Michael Buble' and Nat King Cole, among others. As big band music styles have evolved over the years, the musical repertoire of the band has changed accordingly. In 2017, the band changed its name to The Evolution Big Band to reflect the changing nature of the genre.
In 2021, the band entered a strategic partnership with the Live Oak Performing Arts Center to help build a state-of-the art $6 million, 400-seat facility that will provide “one home” for the Arts and serve the entire Bluffton community. Jeff Shawd, Executive Director and lead trumpet of the Evolution Big Band, serves on the Board of Directors for the Live Oak Performing Arts Center.
The band is currently performing a series of exclusive concert events at five communities around the Lowcountry to help raise funds for the Live Oak Performing Arts Center. The concerts feature Broadway superstars Steve Blanchard, who was the longest running “Beast” in the history of “Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway; and Meredith Inglesby, who has performed in multiple Disney Theatrical productions and in the lead role in the “Mamma Mia” production at the Coastal Carolina Arts Center.
Playing from its library of more than 2,000 arrangements that span a wide range of jazz genres, the Evolution Big Band also performs at churches and other local venues where freewill offerings are taken that go to various charities throughout the Lowcountry. To date, the band has helped non-profit organizations raise more than $200,000 to support worthy causes throughout the Lowcountry, including Family Promise, the Hilton Head Junior Jazz Foundation, the Sun City Lions Club, and Second Helpings.
The Evolution Big Band is grateful for the opportunity to hold its weekly rehearsals at the Bluffton School of Dance. The school teaches confidence, courage, and community expression through dance. "This is somewhere to be part of something great,” said dance school owner Dawn Miller. “Not only the arts, love of dance, and staying active; but teamwork, leadership, and confidence building happen here.”