Put on your dancing shoes, the Big Band Dance is back.
“There’s so many great concerts of local musicians going on, but I think it’s something special to be able to get dressed up and maybe have a formal night,” said Jordan Daviel, Smithers Secondary School music teacher and bandleader. “So there’s a chance to wear the nice dress or the nice suit and make a real event of it and have a nice dance.”
Providing the music will be the full Smithers Secondary Jazz Band, which features 27 pieces, and will be accompanied by special guest singers.
Daviel promises a wide variety of music from 1920s and 1930s Gershwin and Berlin classics through to Motown.
“The big band is going to do all the big classics like “One O’clock Jump” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” and “Rush,” all kinds of stuff,” he said. “We’ll do some bossa nova, classic swing and some rock. We’ll do some 60s and 70s stuff like “Respect” and “Soul Man.”
They will also reprise some of the best numbers from the school musical theatre’s recent production What You Will, a musical interpretation of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Twelfth Night set in a 1920s jazz lounge.
“It was so popular… we got such great feedback,” Daviel said. “And everyone loved the music so much with all these super-talented singing kids in the show, we thought let’s bring some of that back for the big band dance as well, because it is jazz.”
The dance takes place this Saturday (May 14) at the Smithers Curling Club for the first time since 2018 when Mike Doogan-Smith retired.
Daviel said the curling club is a break from the traditional venue of St. Joseph’s School gymnasium, but he said it really sets up nicely for the event and people are going to love it.
“It’s really cool, actually, it’s a nice dance floor there,” he said. “And it’s kind of got this classic vibe with the padded chairs and the whole setup. I sure hope people come to this because I think it’s actually going to be a really nice night.”
Daviel said the return of the dance is not only a unique and special opportunity for the community, but a really important event for band students.
“I think for these high schoolers, there’s this sense of, ‘we just we do our thing, we do it at school, parents come,’ but to know that we achieved something, a level, just with talent and hard work, that is really appreciated by people in the community, they can come and know that they’re going to get really genuinely great music.”
Special guests for the night will include the jazz band Way North of Dixie and four-part harmonies the acapella group Mint Julep.
The dance will also feature the return of former Smithers Secondary music student William Appleyard who has just completed his music degree at B.C.’s premier jazz school Capilano University.
Tickets are available at Mills Interior Stationery and the Smithers Secondary office for $40. It is a semi-formal/formal affair with cash bar, midnight snacks and no minors permitted.