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Lindy Focus 2015

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What could be better than five nights of big band music featuring a different swing era bandleader each night? Doing it all over again, getting another crack at those charts, and delighting dancers, both who loved the experience before and dancers who missed the joy of this event last year. I am delighted to be returning to Lindy Focus to sing five nights with the all-star Lindy Focus edition of the Jonathan Stout Orchestra and I’ll be lending my voice to Michael Gamble and his Rhythm Serenaders at one of the late night dances. I’ll also be DJ’ing in the Balboa room at some of the late night dances – this will be a very DO ALL THE THINGS kind of Lindy Focus for me! See you in Asheville December 27-31, 2015 to ring in the new year!

Here’s the lineup of musicians this year, in case you were curious:

Albert Alva (Saxes & Clarinet)
Gordon Au (Trumpet & Music Instructor)
Lucian Cobb (Trombone)
Josh Collazo (Drums & Music Instructor)
Paul Cosentino (Saxes, Clarinet, & Music Instructor)
Jonathan Doyle (Saxes, Clarinet, & Bandleader!)
Michael Gamble (Bass)
Craig Gildner (Piano)
Ryan Gould (Bass & Music Instructor)
Jake Handelman (Trombone)
Noah Hocker (Trumpet)
David Jellema (Cornet)
Jason Jurzak (Bass & Music Instructor)
Ken McGee (Trumpet)
Keenan McKenzie (Saxes, Clarinet, & Music Instructor)
Dean Mitchell (Saxes)
Ben Polcer (Trumpet & Music Instructor)
James Posedel (Piano)
Brooks Prumo (Guitar)
Hal Smith (Drums)
Jonathan Stout (Guitar & Bandleader!)
Allan Vache´ (Clarinet)
Dave Wilken (Trombone, Music Instructor and Program Overseer)
Russ Wilson (Drums, Vocals on “Basie Night”!)
Laura Windley (Vocals & DJ)

Bal-ast Off in Huntsville, Alabama – July 31-August 2, 2015

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I’m excited to be visiting and singing, for the very first time, the state of Alabama to perform at Bal-ast Off with Michael Gamble and his Rhythm Serenaders! I will also be DJ’ing this weekend of Balboa workshops and dances in Huntsville, along with head DJ Kyle Smith and DJ Erica Vess. As of the date of this post, the event is almost sold out – get your tickets fast and join the flight crew at Bal-ast Off! 😀

Lindy Focus 2014 – Five Nights with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra

It’s not every day that you get to sing with a big band, much less FIVE NIGHTS of big band music! This year I return to Lindy Focus to lend my vocals to the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, which will be featuring the music of a different bandleader each night of the event – Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and New Year’s Eve will feature all the other great tunes in Jonathan’s big band book. The lineup of musicians has been referred to as a “murderer’s row” of jazz/swing musicians and I’m delighted to be among their ranks – to have the opportunity to work with all of them and perform for so many wonderful dancers is such a joy! I’ll also be lending my DJ skills to the late night Balboa room – see you soon!

Singing with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra at Lindy Focus, New Year's Even 2013.  Photo courtesy of Mike Thibault.

Singing with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra at Lindy Focus, New Year’s Eve 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Thibault.

Jammin’ on the James – October 17-19, 2014

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For my birthday weekend I’ll be heading north to our sister scene in Richmond, Virginia to DJ for the 12th annual Jammin’ on the James – a weekend of Lindy Hop workshops and dances in one of my favorite venues, the Lewis Ginter Recreation Association. This year’s instructors are Marie Mattsson, Skye Humphries, Naomi Uyama, Peter Strom and live music provided by Naomi & Her Handsome Devils, the Blue Crescent Syncopators, and the Doctors of Jazz. Not to mention all the excellent vintage shopping – come check out this cool city and swing out with us!

Six Weekends on the Road – SC, NY, VA, NH, MD, and TN!

I’ve probably lost my mind, but I am beyond excited about the events coming in August and early September! The first two are for fun and the last four are gigs, which also happen to be fun – I love that singing has afforded me such great travel opportunities this year, performing with several different bands! Here’s where I’ll be, barring forces majeure:

August 8-10, 2014 – competing and social dancing at the Southeast Summer Brawl in Columbia, SC

August 16-17, 2014 – immersing myself in a 1920’s alternate universe and dancing like a mad flapper at the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York City

August 21-24, 2014 – I’ll be pulling double duty at the International Lindy Hop Championships in Arlington, VA, DJ’ing and singing with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra and Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five!

August 28-29, 2014 – I’ll be joining Michael Gamble’s Rhythm Serenaders on vocals at Swing Out New Hampshire!

September 6, 2014 – the Mint Julep Jazz Band returns to the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD, courtesy of the Jam Cellar!

September 12-13, 2014 – I’m back with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five for the Knoxville Lindy Exchange!

So many exclamation points!!! Six states in six weekends – see you on the road!

DJ’ing at Lindyfest

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I’m thrilled that I’ve been asked to DJ and coordinate music for the Balboa competitions at this year’s Lindyfest and the Lone Star Championships in Houston, Texas. It will be my first time attending an event in Texas and this particular event has been on my bucket list for some time, due to the alchemy that occurs in their competitions. It must be something in the water, or just that it’s Texas, because the grand performances that come from this event are a highlight of my YouTube dance video viewing for the year. I have also heard that I may be DJ’ing a tea dance, which sounds adorable. I’ll leave you with this video, one of my favorites from the 2012 Lonestar Championships – see you soon, Texas!

Lindy Focus XII Recap

Lindy Focus was such a tidal wave of positive energy this year – even though I didn’t have a lot of down time, all that energy kept me going and going! I got to work with some of the most amazing musicians and dancers, and even spin some tunes in the Balboa room. 🙂 It was an honor to be invited to be in the New Year’s Eve show, done to live music for the first time, and to work with Evita Arce, who is the creative genius who put together the show from scratch. It was a pleasure to perform with Jonathan Stout and his all-star band of musicians – the energy from the band performances was immense and infectious!

I’ve posted below my contributions to the New Year’s Eve show – a recreation of the Duke Ellington Short “Bli Blip” with whiz kid Jon Tigert and a performance of “Sunny Side of the Street” featuring tapper extraordinare Mike Herring – and a version of “Me Myself and I” performed with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five. Campus Five first:

Lindy Focus: December 27, 2013 – January 1, 2014

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I’m excited to announce that I will be DJ’ing and singing at Lindy Focus this year! I’ll resume my spot, along with DJ Kristy Milliken, at the Avalon Balboa Dance Party, the late night Balboa room at Lindy Focus. I’ll be joining Jonathan Stout‘s bands on vocals for three nights, singing with Campus Five, the Rhythm Busters, and the Jonathan Stout Orchestra on New Year’s Eve! To say that I am excited would be an understatement – looking forward to it and all the dancing, as well! 😀

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Eastern Balboa Championships – 10th Anniversary!

This weekend is the 10th and (possibly) final Eastern Balboa Championships – it has been an amazing experience over the past 7 years to be able to attend this event and watch it grow into an international event, right in my backyard. I’ll be pulling DJ duties, as well as appearing with my band, the Mint Julep Jazz Band, on Saturday night! Looking forward to the costume contest, the Raleigh Vintage trunk show, and seeing all my Balboa friends. 🙂

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Jammin’ on the James – October 18-20, 2013

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I’m back in the DJ booth with my partner in crime DJ Bill Speidel for another wonderful weekend of workshops and dances in Richmond – Jammin’ on the James is the weekend of October 18-20, 2013, with international instructors Marie Nahnfeldt Mattsson, Skye Humphries, Mike Faltesek, and Casey Schneider rounding out the teaching roster. We’ll be enjoying live music from DC’s Blue Crescent Syncopators, Baltimore’s Bumper Jacksons, and Richmond’s own Doctors of Jazz. This is always such a fun, quality weekend of dancing, I hope you’ll join us!