’40s music to electrify stage


Bill Tole. Submitted photo.

Elora Tocci | Staff Writer

The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and The Pied Pipers will bring back the “good ol’ days” at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.

The group will play ’40s music with a universal appeal — think Frank Sinatra with a Michael Buble twist.

“We want to keep the era alive and tap into the younger market, get young people excited about ’40s-inspired music,” said Nancy Knorr, vocalist for The Pied Pipers.

Knorr will grace the stage with her brother Bill Tole, who leads the orchestra. The two take pride in keeping alive the musical legacy of another sibling duo — Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.

“It feels like history repeating itself,” Knorr said.

The Dorsey brothers performed together in their early years but argued a lot and went their separate ways before coming back together much later in their musical lives.

“They were both very talented, and to be able to keep their music alive and bring their influences together again is very special,” Knorr said.

The sibling chemistry adds electricity to the group that keeps its members smiling throughout each set they play. Knorr said the constant traveling the group does can be draining, dealing with the wear and tear inherent in traversing the country on a regular basis. But passion for the music and performing overrides the weariness.

“We love the era and the music so much and are driven by each performance that we are able to overcome all the obstacles,” she said.

And for Knorr in particular, the performance in Chautauqua means a homecoming of sorts. Her first job with The Pied Pipers in 1983 was at the Institution, and she said she holds that performance as one of her fondest memories.

“I fell in love with Chautauqua and everything around it, and I love seeing it on the itinerary,” she said. “Even if the sun isn’t shining, we’ll bring warmth into the Amphitheater.”