A ‘swing’ing good time in Howard Beach

South Queens residents danced to the sounds of the swing era until after the sun set, courtesy of the Arnie Mig Orchestra, which has performed in the parking lot of St. Helen Church in Howard Beach for the past 20 years.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is our 20th year, believe it or not,” said Arnie Migliaccio, a World War II veteran and resident of Howard Beach since 1965.
The big band orchestra played swing favorites like Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” and “I Know Why”; “At Last,” made popular by Etta James; and Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va.”
The night started a little late because of a short in the stage’s wiring, but after a new generator was brought in, the crowd, who waited patiently for the start of the show, began hopping.
Representatives from Howard Beach’s Stanford Dance Studio judged a dance contest, which was open to all. Frank Tarantino, 72, and Terry Luberto, 83, both from Woodhaven, won first prize — four Mets tickets and two bottles of wine.
“Oh it’s exciting,” Tarantino said. “I’m thrilled to win.” Both Tarantino and Luberto said they used to dance to swing music when they were kids. Recently they have danced together while at the senior center, they said. The swing tunes brought back “nice memories,” Luberto said.
Also in attendance for the night of fun, music and dancing were Councilmember Joseph Addabbo and Senator Shirley Huntley, as well as local district leaders Lew Simon and Frank Gulluscio.
“We do hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did playing for you,” Migliaccio said at the end of the night. “We love you, God bless you and viva Howard Beach!”

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