ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University music students and faculty invite the Aberdeen area community to step out to the Dakota Event Center on Friday, May 2, for an evening of nonstop live big band music, listening and dancing.
The annual NSU Jazz Swing Dance will be in the center’s largest conference room. Music starts at 7 p.m., with the doors opening at 6 p.m.
This large venue will give loyal patrons, listeners, dancers and anyone interested in a night of big band music from the 1940s more room to listen, dance or just enjoy. The Dakota Event Center and the Hampton Inn are offering a special rate for patrons who are too tired to drive home or making a weekend out of it.
The night will feature three full big bands; a jazz-swing combo; and the NSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble, all performing celebrated and beloved swing-dance standards for dancing and listening. The music will be continuous the entire night.
Tickets are $10 per person or half price for children 9-12. There is no cost for kids 8 and under. Cash bars will be available. Tickets are available at the Ken’s SuperFair Foods customer service counter and at the Mavericks restaurant hostess stand. Tickets also will be available at the door.
The gala affair has become one of Aberdeen’s defining events – a night of swirling dancers and exciting college musicians playing like it's 1948.
The event has its origins in the NSU Jazz Ensemble’s traditional November big band concert honoring Veterans Day. Prior to 2006, NSU Jazz Ensemble and Vocal Jazz students would perform authentic works of the big band era, dressed in period military uniforms, with ballroom dancers on the Johnson Fine Arts Center stage.
The growth of the NSU School of Fine Arts
allows for three full big bands: a large vocal jazz ensemble, directed by NSU music education professor Dr. Wendy van Gent
; plus the NSU Jazz Combo, directed by Northern's Mr. Fred Hemke
. A roaring and swinging 15-piece big band made up entirely of saxophones and a rhythm section, a group created by and directed by Hemke, fills out the lineup.
“We sent many talented senior music education majors off to student teach in January this semester, and it has been exciting to watch the freshmen and sophomores step into leadership roles in the groups, and undergo the musical growth this brings,” said Dr. Grant Manhart
, NSU professor of high brass and jazz studies. “This spring’s 1 O’Clock band projects an extremely exciting and danceable sound.”