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Fri, Oct. 18

Dance to Yavapai College jazz groups

The Yavapai College jazz ensembles, the Roughriders and the Trailblazers, are putting on a different kind of concert next week called “Holiday Swing.”

Typically, the performing arts department’s big band jazz setting is that of a showband, where the music is intended for sitting in a seat and listening, has intricate rhythms, extended solos and is intended to please the ears but would be difficult to tap your toe to, said director Chris Tenney.

“For this upcoming concert, we wanted to get away from that style of big band and explore what’s called dance band literature,” Tenney said. “A dance band is straight out of the 1940s/50s swing era in which the popular music of the day was swing and it was intended to be the accompaniment to a dance.”

With music by the likes of Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein, the Roughriders and the Trailblazers have prepared longer sets of music intended to be danced to in the college’s Community Room, Building 19, Room 147. It’ll have a little bit of holiday flavor as some of the usual holiday fare is redone in jazz and swing styles alongside jazz favorites, Tenney said.

The intention, he said, is for people to get on their feet and enjoy themselves. It’s all an experiment on his part, Tenney said.

“I’m hopeful this goes over well so that we can make it a tradition and perhaps in the future use it as a scholarship opportunity or a fundraiser for charity or some other opportunities that we could turn this sort of holiday swing dance into something that is a little bit more community oriented,” he said.

The reason for holding it outside of the college’s Performing Arts Center is because during the holiday season, the venue’s calendar fills up and they don’t want to worry about sharing, Tenney said. The community room was a perfect fit as a place to take it off the stage and still excite the players and audience, he said. It also makes it so the event is free.

This style of entertainment is an important part of the tradition of jazz and nothing beats free, Tenney said. It’s an opportunity to try something fun and laid back that doesn’t have the same risk or cost that would be incurred from going to one of the performing arts department’s other concerts, he said.

The music and dancing begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. Yavapai College is located at 1100 E. Sheldon St.

For more information, call Lorrie Vodika at 928-776-2045.

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