Big band, big fun

Jazzed Up Big Band begins sixth season in Arnolds Park

If swing is your thing there is only one place to be Tuesday nights in the Iowa Great Lakes.

For the sixth straight summer the Jazzed Up Big Band will be performing each Tuesday night starting June 11 through the middle of August at the Majestic Pavilion in Arnolds Park.

Concerts get under way each week at 7 p.m. and there is no cover charge to come enjoy some fantastic big band music.

“It’s a very talented group that loves playing music and being part of the band,” said Paul Plumb, marketing director at Arnolds Park.

One of those musicians is trombonist Rick Ayres, who says some of the musicians drive two to three hours one way just to play with the Jazzed Up Big Band.

“We only have room for 16-17 people so we have a decent sub list,” Ayres said. “The main thing for myself and the musicians is just the level of musicianship in the band and the types of tunes and arrangements we can play. It’s not a typical dance band per se, but everything swings, so you can dance to it all.”

Part of Ayre’s goal when the band started was to be able to play different music than he had in the past.

And part of the dream overall was bringing big band music to Arnolds Park, which they’ve done successfully for several summers.

“There is a long history going back to the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, with the Roof Garden having big name big bands always playing, so it’s great to get that back in the park and expose more people to it,” Ayres said. “If the music swings, they’re going to come and enjoy it and keep coming back. Each year we also have a lot more younger people, high school and college kids coming out and having fun.”

If big band fans missed last season’s series they’ll want to make sure to get back this summer to take advantage of the renovated Majestic Pavilion.

For the band it’s all about the sound. Acoustic panels in the walls have elevated the level of sound quality.

For the concertgoers a new floor will help as they keep step to the band’s rhythms.

The Jazzed Up Big Band will also get a chance to help break in another new facility this year as they play a few shows in the new Roof Garden next door.

No matter the venue, big band enthusiasts will be sure to have a great time.

“Being down in the park just feels right,” Ayres said. “Everyone down at the park has been awesome to work with and it’s been a lot of fun and we couldn’t do it without the fantastic support we’ve had from the community.”