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Jammin Santa’s Goody Bag Band

The patrons at Sleepy Hollow were casually dining on their (delicious) dinners, couples old and young were having quiet dinner conversation, the mood was cheery yet reserved. Suddenly, the door swings open and in marches a troop of big band performers all decked out in Christmas attire. Without saying a word the troop encircles the dining room as wide eyed customers turn in surprise. Then, the troop begins blasting out their 21 piece musical holiday cheer. It’s Santa’s Goody Bag Band! Everyone smiles in amazement, It’s a sight to behold.

It’s holiday cheer at it’s best... and it’s all for a great cause. The band plays their heart out to raise money for The Shriners Hospital and other charities. The travelling troop shuttles from one pub to the next spreading the gift of holiday spirit, not unlike Santa himself but the only presents they leave behind are cash contributions. Here’s how they describe their band and it’s mission.
“Santa’s Goody Bag Band is a horn-based band consisting of members who have performed together in various musical organizations since the early 1970’s. They trace their roots to Kings Island, Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. One December night in 1981, Dr. Heitkemper and a few fellow Kings Island Live Shows Alumni stopped by a local tavern to entertain the patrons.

Dr. Heitkemper, who plays lead trumpet, recalls that a patron gave them a donation for playing the favorite song of her daughter, who died that year. She suggested that the band contribute it to Shriners Burns Hospital for Children in Cincinnati. And so they did, which marked the beginning of Santa’s Goody Bag Band.
Santa’s Goody Bag Band is comprised of doctors, attorneys and other professionals who dress up like elves and perform Christmas carols year-round to benefit local charities. While the band’s repertoire is mostly Christmas classics, a few surprises are thrown into the set, such as cartoon theme songs, a little salsa and a few patriotic tunes.
David Wecker of the Cincinnati Post once wrote “...Santa’s Goody Bag Band is the Rolling Stones of Christmas music. Against all odds, the tunes hang together nicely. The Band Rocks.”
The band’s main fund raiser is the annual pub tour the Saturday before Christmas, where the band plays in several taverns/restaurants in the northern Cincinnati area to raise money for the Shriners Hospital and other charities, such as Healthy Moms & Babies, Crossroad Health Center and the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati. More than $23,000 has been donated to the Shriners Hospital, and about $10,000 has been given to the other charities.
“One of the best things about being with this group is that we get to do something we all love — playing music well — while raising significant monies for worthwhile children’s charities. The generosity of the patrons we entertain on the tour is always inspiring ... even humbling,” says Dr. Heitkemper.
Santa’s Goody Bag Band performs other gigs throughout the year to raise funds to finance tour-related expenses, such as room and transportation, but most of the funds go to the charities. Other gigs include parades, including the City of Montgomery’s Fourth of July Parade (“Oddly enough, there’s some demand over the summer,” says Dr. Heitkemper) and tree lighting ceremonies.
“It keeps us all young at heart,” says Dr. Heitkemper, who also heads the horn section that plays for a 10 piece Cincinnati-based classic rock band, Second Wind.”
For tour dates and more about the band, visit www.santasband.com. For more about Second Wind, visit http://www.secondwind-band.com

 

 

 

 

 

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