By RUBEN LOWMAN
On Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, Henry McMaster will be sworn in again as governor and the state of South Carolina will have an extravagant ball to celebrate.
Highlighting the event will be the music of the Andrew Thielen Big Band. The band has been selected to play the ceremony and dance music for all ages. The Andrew Thielen Big Band has been in existence since 1993 getting it’s start playing in North Myrtle Beach at shag clubs Ducks and Fat Harold’s and by also playing many events for the city of Myrtle Beach, including numerous Military Appreciation Days and Fourth of July. Other shows at Planet Hollywood and the House of Blues soon followed.
The Andrew Thielen Big Band is one of the few traveling big bands left in the United States but have become very popular by playing new songs of every era from Glenn Miller to Bruno Mars.
Band leader/drummer/singer Andrew Thielen said, “We play all the songs people love to dance and sing to. The beginning of each tune, whether it is a Motown favorite or a ballad like Tennessee Whiskey is immediately identified by dancers and that makes them run to the dance floor.”
This 15 piece big band has played for the late actress ‘Betty White’s 90th birthday party”, Maryland Governor Hogan’s Inauguration Ball, debutante balls and Mardi Gras events and galas from Boston to Key Largo and Montgomery, Ala. This past summer the Andrew Thielen Big Band represented the state of South Carolina in a showcase in Oklahoma City where legislatures from all over the south learned about the outstanding attractions of our state with a focus on Charleston. This past New Year’s Eve the band played a packed house at the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island.
Andrew stated that live horns and not sequences or tracks that many bands use is what can really bring energy and excitement to the room and dance floor. He also mentioned that even though the band is fantastic you still need top notch people behind you to help you along.
Thielen credits Senator Greg Hembree and his wife Renee, statesman Tom Mullikin and his wife Virginia Anne, Myrtle Beach’s Mark Kruea, former County Council chairman Mark Lazurus, former Rossi’s owner Dean Morris, Planet Hollywood, the House of Blues and S.C. public television and Polly Lowman, publisher of the North Myrtle Beach Times and Loris Times, for being staunch supporters.
“I love how these people totally ‘got’ how we were a modern day big band that played everything and hired us repeatedly for weddings and city and statewide celebrations,” Thielen said.