Flashback to the Swing Era at the Nostalgia Dance

by Rachel GullNews Editor

Picture men in tuxes with slicked back hair. Think of women in high heels and swirling gowns. Now imagine the music of a big band.

These musings will come alive at the Nostalgia Dance at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 in Great Hall. Simpson’s jazz band will play two sets of big band style music, and the dance will last until about 9:30 p.m.

“The Nostalgia Dance is something that we’ve looked forward to all year,” sophomore Natalie Nielsen, baritone saxophone player, said. “There is a lot of music, probably the most we’ve played, but they are all standards. Plus, we’ve had a lot of fun putting vocalists with the music.”

The Nostalgia Dance is free and open to everyone. Posters will be up around the campus and community within the week.

“People from the community are welcome, and I even know people from Coe College and Iowa State who are coming,” sophomore Lydia Schettler, a vocalist for the dance, said.

Unlike the jazz band’s usual repertoire, this concert will feature five vocalists: Lydia Schettler, Christine Dunn, Mark Meier, Justin Mark and Allison Meyer. In addition, a unexpected voice may be heard.

“There’s a rumor going around that I may sing one, but I guess you’ll have to show up to find out,” Dave Camwell, Assistant professor of music, said.

Camwell does have one request of attendees.

“Please look nice,” he said. “That’s the only thing we ask for. The jazz band really goes the extra mile for this performance. We should sound and look hot.”

The Nostalgia Dance is a tradition at Simpson College. Typically, one was done every two years, but it’s been three years since the last Nostalgia Dance. This dance will only be Camwell’s second, but he is happy to continue the tradition.

“The Nostalgia Dance is important to do on many levels,” he said. “I like it because it allows music to be enjoyed in a purely social context. It is also a great way to expose old music to a new audience. This is important for music majors who will someday need to teach this style of music to their students.”

The Nostalgia Dance is a joint project of Phi Mu Alpha and Mu Phi Epsilon, Simpson’s music fraternities. Both Phi Mu Alpha and Mu Phi Epsilon will work together to decorate Great Hall and sell refreshments during the dance.

“I’m excited to be a part of this great tradition,” junior Zach Rohlwing, president of Phi Mu Alpha, said.

The jazz band is also excited for the Nostalgia Dance.

“Every jazz band doesn’t get to play big band music, and every college doesn’t put on a Nostalgia Dance,” Nielsen said. “I think this is a cool thing that only happens here.”

Camwell said audiences will be getting a special treat at the dance.

“The Jazz Band this year is really, really good,” Camwell said. “This group is definitely the best I’ve had in my four years at Simpson.”

The band will also host the Fourth Annual Simpson College Jazz Festival on Thursday & Friday, January 22 – 23. Shortly after the Nostalgia Dance on Jan. 30, the band will travel to the UMKC Jazz Festival in Kansas City. The Jazz Band will end its performances for the semester with a concert in Lekberg Hall on April 7.