Big Band Experience


This was Tuesday night at the AAAA Theatre.  It was like the cream filling in an oreo cookie, as it was bracketed on both weekends by “A Christmas Story.”  When we entered the seating area, my first thought was – uffda, I would not have enjoyed bringing in all that equipment in 30-below wind chill weather!  But the boys are from the music capital of the world – St. Cloud, Minnesota (think also on this blog Lisa Lynn and Harper’s Chord) – so there was nary a single mention of the weather during the entire performance.

It looked like a truly BIG band was going to be performing.  The stage was full of all manner of equipment and paraphernalia necessary for a such a performance.  And they had to work it in around the exisiting set of “A Christmas Story,” covering it up as best they could.  Ultimately, the band included two brass, two reeds, a drummer, a stand-up bass, and a piano player, with Shaun as the vocalist and emcee.

BBE “What’ll I Do”:

We couldn’t shoot photos or videos, obviously, so I’ve selected some YouTubers just for you!  This was probably the fourth time we’ve seen Shaun, a couple with his a cappella group, Tonic Sol-fa.  The Boy Tenor first promoted the group to us – as you recall, of course, the Boy Tenor’s version of “What’ll I Do” is the supervisor’s favorite.  So, we begin above with BBE’s (Big Band Experience), in the studio.

BBE’s available videos are all in the studio, so you can’t get a flavor of their live performances, which are incredibly energetic. So, here’s Tonic Sol-fa with a live Christmas video:

Tonic Sol-fa Christmas:

And the rest are of BBE in the studio:

BBE “On Top of The World”:

BBE “One For My Baby”:

BBE “Stay”:

BBE “The Birth of the Blues”:

BBE “Hallelujah”:


When I mentioned the large amount of equipment on stage at the beginning, it included two drum sets?  Well, that should have given us a clue.  The Alex High School Jazz Combo performed as the opening act.  Some of these kids you’ve seen before, including Kirby Karpen on bass, Paul Meland on sax, and Spencer Brand on drums (sorry, I did not know the piano player).  Here are some photos from when Kirby and Paul performed with Adam Astrup at SAWA a little over a month ago and a video of the group from the school last year:


Jazz Combo “Straight No Chaser”:





 Up next:  Even more stuff!

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3 Responses to Big Band Experience

  1. Jeff Meland says:

    Thanks for the post Tom!
    A couple corrections for you.
    The High School Jazz Combo Members are: Paul Meland (Tenor Sax), Kirby Carpan (Bass), Sam Carlson (Keyboards), and Jeffrey Gripentrog (Drums). Adam Astrup (Guitar) joins the group when he is in town. Spencer Brand has graduated and attends U of M, but he was in the high school jazz combo as drummer a couple years ago.
    Jeff Meland

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