The eighth annual Big Band Dance will once again be gracing the community with the musical talents of the Smithers Secondary School Junior and Senior Jazz Bands this Saturday.
The Big Band Dance began in 2004, not only as a means to fundraise but to give the students the chance to perform in a non-concert setting, organizer and conductor Michael Doogan-Smith said.
“It was also a chance for the students to learn and play dance music from the big band era … all the way up to the ‘80s, to play modern music as well,” Doogan-Smith said. “We just try to cover a variety of music. Something for everybody.”
It’s really a win-win scenario, he said, for the students who learn some new music and perform in a different scene to the patrons, who are graced with the chance to dance to live music in a formal atmosphere.
“The hall is beautifully decorated and … we encourage patrons to dress formally,” Doogan-Smith said. “They sort of step back in time, when the big band would provide dance music in grand ballrooms, so we try to get as close to that as we can.”
Typically, an ensemble would be around five, Doogan-Smith said, with this evening’s largest ensemble around 22. This year, courtesy of Sight and Sound Music and Yamaha Canada students will be playing alongside Donnie Clark, a well-known Canadian trumpet player, who will spend the days before the event helping students learn from the practiced musician.
“It’s wonderful to have him there with us,” Doogan-Smith said.
Sure to produce some great, full-bodied sound, it’s in the St. Joseph’s auditorium. Starting at 7:30 p.m., in addition to the dancing there will also be a silent auction, as well as a midnight lunch. No minors will be admitted as it’s a licensed event.
The event has been organized by the BV Band Boosters, who support musical endeavours at SSS.
“We were close to a sell-out last year,” Doogan-Smith said, noting the occupancy of the gym is 150, so tickets are limited.
Tickets, which are $25, are available at Mountain Eagle Books, Speedee, and the SSS office.
Funds raised goes towards the SSS music program, for things such as instrument purchases, uniforms, student bursaries and student travel. For example, the concert and jazz bands will be going to Cuba for a week to perform there, Doogan-Smith said. Not only will it give the students a chance to perform in a foreign country but they’ll be learning another culture, and its music, at the same time.