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July 2022
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   Jams Music Store, from 2001 to 2004. During this time, the fam- ily celebrated the birth of its first girl, Olivia, born in August of 2003. The final addition to the LeMieux clan was Grant, born in November of 2008.
While taking advantage of homeschooling, Tom and Mary were concerned that the boys needed the experience of being out in the “real world” and be- coming engaged with many other folks. So, by the end of this millennium’s first decade, the LeMieux family took its music on the road, traveling in a big black Chevy Suburban to any venue available, usually facilities for senior citizens such as nursing homes. During this time, a more diverse audience could hear the ensemble at Border’s in Con- cord. The capital city appealed to Tom and Mary, and in 2012 they founded their first Purple Pit in that Merrimack River city. It was a BYOB establishment des- tined to last only two years, but the experience whetted their ap-
petite for a jazz club/restaurant. An opportunity for such a facility presented itself in their home- town, Bristol. A tourist mecca, they thought, might welcome a unique entertainment center. Bristol’s Purple Pit was opened in 2014.
From 2010 to 2016, the Le- Mieux family’s band, Swing Rocket, “because rockets are cool,” earned wide recognition among jazz-loving New En- glanders. The band was prolific and peripatetic. It performed an eclectic repertoire of songs. Mary might sing standards like “Pennies From Heaven,” the band might perform the tongue- in-cheek “Crazy Charlie,” and Tom’s poignant collaboration is evident in the soulful ballad “Gladness From Ashes” (a song about the death of a seven-year- old child). There were many ven- ues. The Weirs, The CoChecko Arts Festival in Dover, multiple “Pumpkin Festivals,” The North Hampton Bandstand, and, of course, at the home base Pur- ple Pit in Bristol. Widespread recognition led to Swing Rocket being featured on NH Televi- sion’s “Chronicles” in 2015 at a Meredith Bay Colony Club per- formance. WCUB Boston taped a second TV presentation at the Purple Pit in July 2015.
Bristol’s Purple Pit continues to be a popular haunt for many of New Hampshire’s best-known jazz and blues artists, including John Lorenz, Sharon “Sugar”
Jones, Charlie Farron, and “Kid Pinky” (Steve Prisby lead). The original Swing Rocket (with Michael on clarinet) continued to play there until 2016. Tom, Adam, Jacob, Mary, and brass stand-ins continue to perform there. These days, Adam and Jacob tour with their own band,
Rumboat Chili. Michael is scor- ing avant-garde jazz composi- tions. LeMieux children #’s 4 and 5 pursue their own artistic endeavors. Olivia is a visual art- ist. Grant is becoming enthusias- tic about the piano.
Fortunately for their fans, the LeMieuxes are scheduled to re-
unite for a performance at the Purple Pit this summer on the evening of August 6. The orig- inal Swing Rocket will launch again, fueled by a potent mixture of refined talent and enduring love.
* Swing Rocket’s CD’S can be re- viewed on
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