Temple Israel Gala to pay homage to Jewish jazz giants Local bandleader brings story of survival to event

by | Feb 23, 2015 | What’s Happening

Sunday, April 19, 5:45 pm

Artie Shaw, Harry James and Benny Goodman. They were the kings of swing in the 1930s and 40s, and they were all Jewish.

Temple Israel will recall their contributions to one of the greatest eras in American musical history with “Let’s Shwing: Jews, Jazz and Jive.” The synagogue’s annual fundraiser will feature hors d’oeuvres and a dinner prepared by TCC’s culinary expert Deanna Freridge, as well as music, dancing, singing and the stories behind the legends, told by WHRV FM’s Jae Sinnett, the area’s leading authority on jazz. With pictures and videos, he and Temple Israel president Joel Rubin will relate both the performers’ impact on the nation, as well as their Jewish roots.

The most incredible moment of the evening though may be the simple appearance of bandleader Glen Boswick of the Sounds of Swing Orchestra. On Jan. 2, 2015, Boswick had just left his home in Gloucester County when he felt chest pains and experienced intense sweating. “I knew I was having a heart attack,” says Boswick, who suffered his first six years earlier.

Back then he was near Riverside Hospital in Newport News, where doctors were able to save his life by implanting four stents to open a clogged artery. This time, he was just minutes from Mary Immaculate Hospital, also in Newport News, and drove himself to the emergency room. “I walked inside and told the receptionist that I was a heart patient experiencing pain and within 30 seconds, a team came running, hooked me up to EKG, and replied ‘YES, you are having a cardiac issue’,” recalls Boswick.

Rushed to the cath lab, the medical team quickly found a blocked stent, inserted a new one, and then took Boswick to ICU. Several hours later while speaking to a nurse, Boswick coded, drifting off into a deep sleep. CPR and defibrillation revived him. They rushed him back to the cath lab where he coded a second time, awaking to hear the cardiologist yelling “clear!” Two jolting shocks eventually restored rhythm to Boswick’s heartbeat. Twice nearly dead, the 53-year-old Hampton native returned to ICU. Three days later he was back home.

“I can’t tell you how lucky I am to be alive and so looking forward to being with you on April 19,” says Boswick, who began playing bass as a teenager with the famous Dick Christ orchestra on the Peninsula, taking it over after his mentor died. Each summer he and his band play swing music during Sunday events at Ocean View Park. At Temple Israel, he will have eight musicians behind him.

Guests will hear great standards of the swing era. Dancers, including Norfolk’s famed 88-year-old hoofer David Kennedy, will add to the entertainment. Tickets for the evening are $60 each and are available by calling the synagogue office at 757-489-4550. www.templeisrael.com.