Elk jazz bands to host Swing Dance, then open for Jazz MN

The Elk River Black Elk Jazz Band has a big weekend coming up.

On Friday night, they’ll be one of nine bands performing at the fourth annual Swing Dance at ERHS. This has been a popular event for both students and adults, and director John Rosner expects this year’s edition to be “bigger than ever” with the inclusion of the U of M’s Jazz One Band.

Black Elk Jazz Band members performed at a recent MSHSL regional, where they received a superior rating. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Black Elk Jazz Band members performed at a recent MSHSL regional, where they received a superior rating. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

On Saturday night, the Black Elk group will open for Jazz MN in a concert at Hopkins High School which will also feature jazz legend Randy Brecker.

“Jazz MN has some big-name artists from the Twin Cities who get together (to perform) three times a year,” said Rosner, “and they always invite a high school group to open. This year, they invited us.”

Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn) has enjoyed a long, distinguished career including a stint with Blood, Sweat and Tears, and many years with his late brother Michael in the Brecker Brothers group.

The Swing Dance — which costs $5 for students, $10 for adults, with $20 family packages available —  will start 6 p.m. with dance lessons from   Cindy and Terry Gardner of TC Swing.

There will be about three hours of music by the Black Elk and Red Elk jazz bands, the Rogers, Zimmerman, and Blaine high school jazz bands, and short sets by Rogers, VandenBerge and Salk middle school bands, and finally the U of M band at 9:15 p.m.

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