DJ

St. Louis and San Francisco

I feel like it’s a year of firsts in terms of travel for me, so my next “first” is my first time not flying home between weekend gigs.  I’ll start my week of travel adventures in St. Louis for the Nevermore Jazz Ball, performing at the Saturday night and Sunday night main dances with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders.  Saturday night is at the historic Casa Loma Ballroom, where many great bands from the swing era performed.  Check out the video below for some footage of us performing in this amazing ballroom last year at Nevermore (video thanks to Voon Chew):

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Once Nevermore wraps, I’m heading to San Francisco to perform with the Rhythm Serenaders again at Fog City Stomp at the Thursday night and Saturday night main dances.  I’ll also be DJ’ing at the Friday night dance (with Clint Baker’s Golden Gate Swing Band on the bandstand) and participating in a panel discussion before the Friday dance on live music and the swing dance community.  This will be my first trip to San Francisco and I’m excited to have a few days to see the sights, shop the shops, and eat the eats!

See you soon Mid-West and West Coast!

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Hurricane Irma Pending – KLX and Let’s Dance Boston

klx-15-no-background-yellowAs a child of coastal North Carolina, I take hurricanes very seriously, so my next travel update is pending the chosen path of Hurricane Irma.  This weekend, which should occur without being affected, I’ll be singing with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders on September 8 and 9, 2017 at the Knoxville Lindy Exchange!  In its 17th year, I look forward to singing and also DJ’ing at the late night dances.

My next bit of travel is more uncertain – if all goes well, I’ll be flying to Boston to perform at Let’s Dance Boston on September 13, 2017 with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders for one night of dancing to swing music with an outdoor stage and dance pavillion.

First and foremost is safety – everyone stay safe if you are in Irma’s path!

June is amazing!

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Lincoln Center’s band shell and dance pavilion at Damrosch Park.

Seriously, it’s going to be one of the best months for the Mint Julep Jazz Band and, thus, for myself – here’s a rundown of the goodness to come:

June 3 – Mint Julep Quintet is performing at Beyu Caffe, our local jazz and supper club at its new spacious and wonderful location. Durham, come hear your hometown swing band!

June 4Live Love Lindy is Winston-Salem’s first and NC’s only Lindy exchange for 2016! Looking forward to returning to the fabulous Vintage Theater (and its teeny tiny stage, it’s going to be tight for 8 people!) with the Mint Julep Jazz Band and also looking forward to performing with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders at Camel City BBQ for the Saturday late night dance!

June 16-19 – I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend to pull triple duty: 1) DJ’ing, 2) performing at the Friday night dance with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders, and 3) performing at the Saturday night dance with the Mint Julep Jazz Band.

June 24 – I am still pinching myself to make sure this is real and not a dream, the Mint Julep Jazz Band is performing at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing!  We are flying to New York to perform at this wonderful event, part of a three week concert series with social dancing to live music in an outdoor pavilion under the stars in Damrosch Park!  I’ll tell you if it was a dream at the end of the month… 😉

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The Track Podcast Episode 14: Laura Windley

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I sat down with podcaster Ryan Swift in December at Lindy Focus for an interview for The Track, which features in-depth interviews with pivotal persons in the swing dance community, and the fruits of that interview appear in Episode 14 of The Track!  I’m flattered and delighted to join the ranks of people I admire as a dancer and vocalist who have been featured on the podcast before me, including my DJ mentor Rob Moreland, Renaissance woman Naomi Uyama, the unparalleled Sylvia Sykes, and the inimitable Dawn Hampton.  Take a listen, Ryan is an intuitive and fun interviewer and the topics always swing. 😀

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!

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: 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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