September 17: Las Vegas casino bands, book signing
Dr. Janis L. McKay, author of Played Out on the Strip: The Rise and Fall of Las Vegas Casino Bands, will sign books from 1-5 p.m. in The Mob Museum retail store.
The book explores the life and history of music found on the Strip from large bands and orchestras performing full time in various casinos to the casinos’ movement to use synthesizers and taped music to save money.
Through extensive interviews with former musicians, McKay charts this boom and bust cycle, the effects of strikes on Las Vegas and the performers themselves and the long-lasting and far-reaching consequences for the entertainment industry.
With its numerous oral history interviews and personal perspectives from the era, this book will appeal to readers interested in Las Vegas history, music history, and labor issues.
Janis McKay is the Associate Professor of Bassoon at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Principal Bassoon of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performs as Principal Bassoon for the Classical Music Festival in Austria and as Contrabassoon for the Reno Philharmonic. McKay has held positions and performed with numerous orchestras including the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston (WV) Orchestra, the Springfield (OH) Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and the Louisville Orchestra among many others. As a free-lance musician in Las Vegas, McKay has performed and/or toured with such artists as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte Church, John Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Gloria Estafan, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Seth MacFarlane, and Tony Bennett.
She has twice been a featured soloist with the International Music Festival in Ukraine, twice with the Classical Music Festival touring Austria and Hungary, and once with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. She may be heard on Summit, d’Note, Starkland Records, and First Edition recordings. Her new solo CD, Dark Wind, will be released by Troppo Note Publishing in the fall of 2016.
Janis McKay received her D.M.A. from The Ohio State University, the Master of Music degree from the University of Louisville, and the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia. Her major teachers were Christopher Weait, Matthew Karr, and William Davis. Dr. McKay previously taught at Baylor University, Capital University, the Ohio Wesleyan University, and Wright State University.
She is the author of a book about Las Vegas casino musicians Played Out on the Strip: The Rise and Fall of Las Vegas Casino Bands, published by the University of Nevada Press in the spring of 2016.