Last fall I got to step into a spotlight I’d been dreaming of for years. After six years behind the keyboard at the back of The Big Band, I am now out front as the singer.

If the jam-packed swing dance event at the Old Fire Hall last month is any indication, swing dancing is on the rise in the Yukon. And this weekend The Big Band is putting on its first big event since I got possession of the microphone. But now that I have that microphone in hand, I feel an overwhelming urge to make a few confessions…

Confession #1: The Big Band and I got off to a shaky start.

I left my very first rehearsal almost in tears. Surprisingly, a lifetime of classical piano training does not immediately translate into even the slightest ability to play jazz. I suddenly found myself trying to read music that had no written notes and facing chord symbols that looked like text messages sent by a toddler. I remember sight-reading my way through a piece at that first rehearsal and feeling rather proud and relieved for surviving. Then the music director looked at me and said, “Okay… Now, can you swing it?”

I had no clue what he meant.

You may have no clue, either, but when you come out to the dance on Saturday, you’ll feel that “swing” as the irresistible force that moves you out of your seat to dance.

Confession #2: I’m kind of a terrible dancer.

Growing up, I was generally a wallflower at school dances. I felt gangly and awkward. But one thing I’ve learned playing with the band is that once it gets going, everybody’s gotta move. The Big Band is the Biggest it’s ever been since I joined. Four trombones, four trumpets, six saxes, plus piano, bass and drums. (Not to mention my belting!) That’s a lot of energy going out to the dance floor!

Since it’s Mother’s Day, children 12 and under can attend free. There’s also a limited number of special “Youth + 1” tickets.
Teens (aged 13-18) can buy one of these tickets and bring a date of any age along. Maybe some of you will decide to take your Mom out dancing?
It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you can swing dance. Trust me, I have no idea what I’m doing in that department, either.

Confession #3: I may own a few more gowns than is absolutely necessary.

To me, one of the best parts of going out to a dance is the fun of getting all dressed up with somewhere to go. 
You don’t have to get dressed up, of course, but a girl does like to get girly once in a while. 
We have three dance sets planned for this weekend. I think that might call for three different dresses…

Confession #4: Wine and chocolate make me a better singer.

I actually made this discovery while recording my CD last year; wine (sipped in moderation, of course) is soothing on a tired voice. And chocolate makes every woman a better person, doesn’t it?

Luckily for me, both wine and chocolate will be in attendance this weekend. The Yukon Film Society will provide a cash bar and I hear there might be brownies among the food offerings.

All in all, I think we have the ingredients for a perfect night out.

The Swing into Spring dance takes place at Mount McIntyre on Saturday, May 10. Doors open at 7 p.m. and swinging starts at 7:30. Tickets are $20 for adults, $30 for youth (admits two; ticketholder must be between 13 and 18).

Available at Dean’s Strings or online at bigband.ca. This is a licensed event.