Wayne Macuga Band Brings Big Brass Sound to Dance
Local band inspires ballroom dancers.
The Wayne Macuga Band will take dancers to another place and time Thursday night with a big brass sound, old-school tuxedos and a beat that will get anyone out of their seat.
With a regular show set for the last Thursday of each month, drummer Vince Taglieri, also owner of Forest Hills Coffee Company, said the venue at the Palisades in McKeesport is perfect for the big band’s sound.
“It’s a 17-piece big band just like the olden days and we rehearse three Thursdays a month down in North Huntingdon,” Taglieri said. “This is a dance band. The music is meant to make you dance.”
With the local popularity of the hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” especially after Steeler Hines Ward’s victory, Taglieri said the band has an all new audience because there aren’t many places to go for ballroom dancing with a live band.
“It’s one thing to dance with a record but it’s a whole different feel when people dress up, put on the shoes and they are dressed to dance,” Taglieri said. “You go up the steps, take the elevator up and it’s all wood - 500 people could be dancing without bumping into each other and it’s a nice stage.”
The majority of the musicians in the band are from the east side of Pittsburgh. The director, Wayne Macuga of North Huntingdon, also plays trumpet and sings.
Taglieri has been playing with the big band for about a year. He also has his own rock band, Mid-Life Crisis.
“I love playing big band music,” he said. “Reading charts and playing with all of these guys and they are so happy to be there. They just love to play. When we are supposed to start at 7, 6 and everyone is there dressed up and ready to go.”
He also said the big band has loyal fans that come monthly to each show and dance. Some of the most popular songs include Sway, Midnight Serenade and other big band favorites.
“If they have any interest in dancing—come,” Taglieri said of people who would like to give it a try. “A friend of mine came and an older woman said, ‘Do you wanna dance, honey?’ and she started showing him. It’s a good place to learn and a live band—it’s totally different than a record.”
Being a drummer, Tagliri said he always feels like it’s his job to make people dance—and the band accomplishes that goal each and every time.
“It’s like you turn a corner and you walk into the ‘40s,” he said.
For more information, call 412-824-9589. Tickets are $10 per person. The band plays Thursday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at McKeesport Palisades at 501 Fifth Ave.