The “Busiest Big Band in the Twin Cities,” the Bend in the River Big Band is celebrating its 25th anniversary as it returns to Gustavus Adolphus College, the place where it all began for them, for Homecoming 2012, Saturday, October 13. Saturday’s performance by the Bend in River Big Band begins at 7:30 p.m. in Jussi Björling Recital Hall. The performance is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Gustavus Artist Series. Tickets are available online at gustavustickets.com and will also be available at the door.
As students at Gustavus, a majority of the musicians in the Bend in the River Big Band played under direction of Dr. Mark Lammers. In 1987, with a combination of early and more recent alumni, the band was formed in the Twin Cities to provide the opportunity to continue playing the “Big Band” music that they had learned to love. Over the past 25 years, the BRBB has released 3 CD’s; Introducing Bend in the River Big Band, Bad Habits—Good Intentions, and in 2011, Flash! Bam! Alakazam!, featuring vocalist Linnea Nelson Marrin. They can be heard regularly on KBEM radio’s Big Band Scene with Jerry Swanberg and at numerous concert venues in the Twin Cities. In 1998 the band performed the U.S. premier of Nils Lindberg’s Requiem and then toured and performed with Nils in Sweden later that year.
The band is currently under the direction of Bob Hallquist, who served as interim conductor of the Gustavus Band in 1986-1987. He is a retired high school band director from the Twin Cities and is still active as a freelance trumpet player in the Twin City area. The program for the Homecoming Concert on Saturday will be announced from the stage and will reflect the wide variety of music for big band from Duke Ellington and Count Basie to the best jazz and big band composers of today. In addition to the alumni and other members of the band, Dr. Hallquist has invited the current director of jazz studies at Gustavus, Dr. Steve Wright, to join the band as guest artist for this special 25th Anniversary and Homecoming Concert.
Come celebrate 150 years at Gustavus and 25 years of Bend in the River Big Band on Saturday, October 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Björling Recital Hall on the Gustavus campus. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door.