Entertainment: 29th Annual Big Band Dance

Photo Credit: Angela Lai

Kurrus leads the orchestra as they get ready for a new song.

For a 29th year, the Big Band Dance showcased some of M-A’s best musical talent in Ayers Gym. It featured the jazz bands, the orchestra, and the concert band, as well as a visit from the Blues Brothers.

Dancers from Cheryl Burke Dance, a studio owned by M-A alum and Dancing with the Stars’ Cheryl Burke, gave dance lessons, encouraging attendees to venture onto the dance floor.

Kent Kurrus, the band director who managed the night, says, “It’s an incredible amount of work. I have probably 4, 5 dozen parents that help with it, over a hundred kids help with set up, we’ve been preparing the music for weeks. It’s the biggest thing we do all year and we’ll probably raise 10 or 20,000 tonight. It’s a lot of fun.”

Freshman Madeleine Baier sang with Jazz Band II and amazed the crowd with “Skylark,” “Orange Colored Sky,” and “Don’t Know Why.” “I didn’t really know what to expect,” she said. “It’s exciting and also kind of nerve-wracking, but I had to stay confident.”

For senior Christina Takayama, another impressively talented singer, it was her fourth and final Big Band Dance as a performer in the M-A Jazz Band.

“It’s always been really fun doing it and I enjoy being part of the performance. And it’s always really lively.” She added, “One of the best things about the Big Band Dance is just how many older people come. I met a lot of grandparents, and because we’re playing music from their generation, it’s really nice to see them get really excited about our music because it reminds them of their childhood.”