WWII

Concert at Edward C. Smith Civic Center in Lexington, NC – April 30, 2016

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The Edward C. Smith Civic Center, a wonderful theater in Lexington, NC built in 1948, is hosting the Mint Julep Jazz Band for a rare theater concert on April 30, 2016. We’ll have a special program for this evening and we hope you will join us for a night of swing music, past and present! For more information, visit the theater website at http://www.smithciviccenter.org/ and get your tickets in advance by calling the theater box office at 336.249.7875. $20 for adults and $15 for students, and the theater is also offering a group rate for groups of 6 or more.

There will be a dance floor in the theater for those who might like to dance during the performance and there will also be a bunch of plush theater seats, if that’s your bag. And how about that stage? Fit for an MGM musical – see you soon!

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City of Raleigh Museum Time Warp Fundraiser: Swing Dance Salute to the 1940s

Army-Nurse-Corps

On June 7, 2014 the City of Raleigh Museum is featuring the Mint Julep Jazz Band at an event honoring Raleigh’s World War II veterans, with the launch of an exhibit called “Our War: Voices of Raleigh’s World War 2 Veterans” and and a 1940’s themed fundraiser event. The event, which coincides with the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6, will highlight the new exhibit and feature swing dancing, European and Pacific theater-themed food and drinks, live and silent auctions, and costumed cigarette girls. Time Warp 2014 tickets are $60 for museum members and $70 for non-members (which include a museum membership — a $35 value).

Time: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Location: City of Raleigh Museum, 220 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC

Tickets: To purchase tickets, visit the event’s Eventbrite page

I am excited and humbled to be wearing the uniform of World War II Army Nurse Corps First Lieutenant Martha Way, who served in the 97th Evacuation Hospital Unit with her husband, Dr. Brady Way. First Lieutenant Way’s unit landed in Normandy, France just 11 days after D-Day and joined the field hospital there to provide care to wounded soldiers. Her unit then went on to sites in Belgium and Germany, directly supporting First US Army troops fighting in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) and was one of the first units to assist the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. The 97th Evacuation Hospital Unit served thousands of wounded soldiers and displaced persons until the unit was inactivated on November 23, 1945. Martha Way returned to Beaufort, North Carolina with her husband following the war. I am friends with the Way family and thank them immensely for allowing me to wear Martha Way’s uniform on this special occasion.

Interview with Alice Windley for Voices of the Jazz Era Ballroom

My grandfather, grandmother, and aunt, circa 1947

A couple of years ago I read about Voices of the Jazz Era Ballroom, a “web-based oral history project devoted to preserving and passing along the memory of dance in the Jazz Era through the lives and words of everyday people.” Anyone could contribute a video or audio recording of anyone who lived and danced in the 1920’s through the 1950’s. I knew immediately that I wanted to capture my grandmother’s stories and this project was the impetus to do it. Since I started swing dancing over 15 years ago, my grandmother, Alice Windley, would relay stories of her own dance history and I loved it, all the little tidbits of her life and how dancing was a part of it. It gave me the feeling that I had carried forward the legacy of the family jitterbug to the third generation (the second generation having adopted Carolina shag).

My grandmother grew up in eastern North Carolina, living a mostly rural life, but with the onset of World War II and her proximity to a military base, I believe she was exposed to much more music and swing dancing in her early years of social dancing than might otherwise would have occurred in this part of the country. But I’ll let her tell you all the stories, via YouTube.

Atomic Rhythm All-Stars on the U.S.S. North Carolina

This weekend, the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars will be playing at a wedding reception on the U.S.S. North Carolina, a WWII era battleship docked in Wilmington, North Carolina. While we hope to someday play some public gigs on the U.S.S. N.C., we are excited to have this initial opportunity to play on this historic ship!