29th Annual Big Band Dance

Source: Angela Lai

Angela Lai

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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.”

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11 Responses to “29th Annual Big Band Dance”

  1. Virsies on November 19th, 2012 11:29 pm

    The Big Band dance was so much fun! I find it the best dance of the year because of how inclusive it is and the live music is phenomenal. I can’t wait to return next year. It was really nice to get a break from the typical high school dance and see professionals (and normal folk) rock the dance floor with their swanky moves. It makes me wish I’d grown up in their era!

  2. Annalise Deal on November 20th, 2012 12:36 am

    Your pictures are amazing and capture the night so well! Keep up this good work 🙂

  3. bwiener on November 20th, 2012 7:40 pm

    This article discusses some of the singers associated with M-A’s music program, but what of the rest of the musicians that were present that night? If I’m not mistaken, the M-A music program consists not only of singers, but a diverse array of musicians on many different instruments.

    Tyler Finn Reply:

    I agree with Ben. I was very impressed by both the band and the vocalists, and the big band dance is so great because of both of them!

    Nicky H Reply:

    This is a very good point. I’d love to see a follow-up article talking to some of the musicians about how they prepared for such a large and meaningful performance. While much of the focus is on the singers, its truly a performance dependent on the musicians. As anyone knows who has witnessed a Big Band Dance or any M-A musical production, Menlo-Atherton is filled with extremely talented musicians; they deserve their recognition.

    Anon Reply:

    Singers are also musicians…But yes, instrumentalists should have been recognized for their talent and hard work as well. The Blues Brothers were especially fun to watch (:

    alai Reply:

    That’s a great point. All the musicians deserve recognition for sure; they made the night.

  4. rgordan on November 22nd, 2012 5:40 pm

    I’ve never been to the big band dance, but this article made me want to go next year!

  5. Nolan Martin on November 25th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Great to see coverage of the dance! The Big Band Dance is special in having live music and is particularly significant this year in that it is the only dance besides Homecoming for many students as Winter Formal was cancelled this year.

  6. whanley on November 26th, 2012 3:50 pm

    Because of this article, I may actually go next year. If it’s as fun as it sounds I know that I’m going to have a good time.

  7. mrichardson on December 17th, 2012 2:21 pm

    This looked so fun! so sad i missed it!

29th Annual Big Band Dance