Suwannee Swing Saloon Debut Performance In Marco Island

The Suwannee Swing Saloon kicked off their first-ever performance last week at the Marco Island Center for the Arts.

March 30, 2018

The newfound band played to a warm and intimate crowd of regular Center attendees who received the Western Swing group with enthusiasm on Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

The rare and unique sound of the Suwannee Swing Saloon was a special treat for this venue, which hosts artists and entertainers from around the world. The sounds of Western Swing were a first for this Marco Island Center for the Arts, but the friendly reception and cheerful applause made the musicians feel right at home.

The first song of the night, Turn Me Loose & Let Me Swing, at the first-ever live performance of the Suwannee Swing Saloon at Marco Island Center for the Arts.

"I've played at Marco Island Center for the Arts once before," says Hunter Dahlen, Bandleader and violin/vocalist, "my original performance consisted of traditional jazz standards, so this was a little outside of the box. The challenge, to me, was there could be a disconnect between Western Swing music and the audience - to my surprise, not only did everyone in the room know the tunes we play, but they actually started singing along with us for most of the show! You can't imagine how big of a relief it was to hear such positive feedback - it was really something special for me and the whole band."

Sure enough, by the end of the show, the band played their titular song "Suwanee River" and the whole crowd joined in song.

"That old Stephen Foster tune was written in the middle of the 19th century, but still everyone knew the lyrics like the back of their hand! It was almost like we were playing the anthem - which is kind of true, it is Florida's state song." Dahlen mused, before recalling another specific memory that stood out from this debut performance.

"A funny thing happened when we played that last song; Suwannee River has a lyric 'that's where the old folks stay' and even though our audience was a bit older they had a wonderful sense of humor - they actually got a big laugh out of it! The lyric may have been written nearly two hundred years ago, but I guess it's just one of those things still rings true today - I suppose that is what made it so funny!"

Dahlen, as well as the other members of the band, look forward to working with the Marco Island Center for the Arts again in the future.

The Suwannee Swing Saloon wants to thank Marco Island Center for the Arts for graciously hosting the band and for being the location of their musical premiere. Thanks especially to Hyla Crane, the Executive Director of the Center, who personally gave the Suwannee Swing Saloon this unique opportunity!

The Suwannee Swing Saloon encourages you to explore all of what the Marco Island Center for the Arts has to offer, in addition, to live musical entertainment, the Center also offers guests fascinating art galleries from artists both local and from across the globe! The Center is also home to many invaluable educational programs for both young people and people who are young at heart!

Visit Marco Island Center for the Arts at

You can make a charitable donation to the Center for the Arts here or you can become a member here.