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NIU to host big band event this weekend

July 16, 2012

Photo of a trumpetDancers “in the mood” for some big band music will want to check out the seventh annual “Let’s Dance” Big Band Weekend inside NIU’s Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Presented by Just Make It Happen, Inc., the event takes place from Friday, July 20, through Sunday, July 22.

Whether it’s Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” or Count Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump,” dancers are sure to find their pace with the swing, waltz, foxtrot, Latin or jazz styles of big band dance music offered throughout the weekend.

“Just Make It Happen is excited to present a variety of big band sounds for appreciative dancers and listeners at a wonderful venue: the Duke Ellington Ballroom. We had great fun last year with dancers from more than 60 Illinois cities and eight states represented,” said John Smith, musician and president of the not-for-profit group.

“The big band sound of the great bands like, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and thousands of others have created a legacy of standards which people simply yearn to experience. This event tries to reconnect dancers and listeners of all ages to a diverse set of bands for a magical weekend.”

Bands performing during the “Let’s Dance” Big Band weekend range in size from 10 to 17 pieces.

The Johnnie Kaye Orchestra of Peru, Ill., kicks off the event Friday with the “Welcome Dance Party” from 8 to 11 p.m. in the ballroom’s 13,000 square-foot hardwood dance floor. John Smith & Shananigans of DeKalb take the stage Saturday from 8 to 11:15 p.m. with the “Let’s Dance” Ball.

Finally, the Dick Elliott Orchestra of Chicago rounds out the weekend from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday with a brunch and dance.

“When people get a chance to hear the excitement of a complete big band of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass and drums, plus vocalists, they want more,” Smith said. “We are looking forward to more local big band and dance enthusiasts for this year’s event.”

For those who need to brush up on their dance moves, Saturday morning lessons are offered at intermediate and advanced levels of waltz, foxtrot, swing and Latin.

The Duke Ellington Ballroom is a fully accessible facility located in the Holmes Student Center at NIU. Free parking is available nearby.

Just Make It Happen Productions is a DeKalb-based non-profit 501-C-3 group committed to “Supporting the Arts Locally.” For more information, call (815) 758-1093 or email [email protected].