(Tom Best photo)

(Tom Best photo)

Last Big Band dance with band leader

High school students and special guests help Mike Doogan-Smith keep toes tapping at Big Band Dance.

It may have been his last one, but Smithers Secondary band leader Mike Doogan-Smith put on another fantastic version of music that had more than just a few Smithereens tapping their toes to the beat.

They were tapping. They were humming. And most of all they were dancing.

For some, the dancing looked right out of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

It was the 15th version of the Big Band Dance and it had the St. Joe’s dance floor/ gymnasium rocking like never before. For Doogan-Smith, it will be the last before he retires at the end of the year.

There was a great variety of music on display. First of all came the junior band. Then there was a small combo featuring a couple of graduates of the program back to show what can happen when talent and hard work come together.

Finally came the senior band which played the gamut from classic big band such as Benny Goodman to more recent tunes from modern greats like Michael Buble.

The combo included Danielle Olmstead, a medical student, and Ian Olmstead who was with Alex Cuba’s touring band. Other members of the group including Doogan-Smith’s son did not arrive due to a flight cancellation.

He said that they had wanted to put together a combo to come out for his last big band dance.

The St. Joseph’s gymnasium was decked out like an old dance hall and the musical guests didn’t just play tunes. They made music.

The response from the community was excellent with very few empty seats, except when the holders were out on the floor.

Organizers served a wide variety of beverages to go with snacks that ran the gamut from very healthy to very delicious.

The proceeds from the event have traditionally gone to the music program at Smithers Secondary and have been used in a variety of ways to enhance the program. These have included offsetting costs for various trips to places such as Whistler and Cuba, purchasing of uniforms and instruments as well as bursaries for graduating students to pursue musical study.

This year there were 21 students in the junior jazz band and about the same in the senior group.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to find out about being a professional musician and doing a working gig. They come in the side door and get on stage and then go home. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, ” said Doogan-Smith.

“We try to provide music for every taste. Everything from swing era to Dixieland to Michael Jackson and everything between. For each of our student bands I try to do a bit of a generational thing with a wide range of music,” he explained.

Sports@interior-news.com

 

(Tom Best photo)

(Tom Best photo)

Band leader Mike Doogan-Smith has hosted 15 Big Band Dances to help raise funds for the Smithers Secondary music program. He retires at the end of the year. (Tom Best photo)

Band leader Mike Doogan-Smith has hosted 15 Big Band Dances to help raise funds for the Smithers Secondary music program. He retires at the end of the year. (Tom Best photo)

Music program graduates Danielle and Ian Olmstead came back to be part Mike Doogan-Smith’s final Big Band Dance. (Tom Best photo)

Music program graduates Danielle and Ian Olmstead came back to be part Mike Doogan-Smith’s final Big Band Dance. (Tom Best photo)