October 16th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1976, The Rossmoor Shopping Center celebrated its fifteenth anniversary with a dance contest featuring a variety of dance styles like the jitterbug, the rumba, the shag, the Charleston, the Cha Cha Cha, the fox trot, the Bosanova, the Balboa, and the Balboa.(We’re partial to the Stingray Shuffle here at the “This Date in Seal Beach History” dance academy.)Prizes were provided the mall’s merchants, and the music was provided by Tracy Wells And That Big Band, an eighteen-piece orchestra specializing in music from the Glen Miller era. Tracy Wells was a Long Beach musician and one time Seal Beach resident who came into local prominence in the seventies playing gigs at venues like the Golden Sails Inn, The Lakewood Center, the Edgewater Hyatt House.Wells continue leading Big Band orchestras and bands well into the Twenty-First Century as evidenced in this 2012 Long Beach Press-Telegram interview by Tim Grobaty. He even recorded two albums, “The Tracy Wells Big Band, Featuring Karen Aldridge” (1982) and Tracy Wells and his Big Swing Band’s “Swing is Here!” (2006). You can listen to “Swing is Here!” on this YouTube playlist.

Tracy Wells retired from performing with a New Year’s Eve Grand Finale Party in 2015 at the Long Beach Marriott.If the mood strikes you, you can still dance at The Rossmoor Shopping Center today (earphones recommended), but most of the stores have changed, and the center has been remodeled and rebranded as The Shops at Rossmoor in 2007.

– Michael Dobkins

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