Tomorrow — Feb. 28, 2017 — goes by multiple names in different cultures and contexts. Some call it Shrove Tuesday. Others know it as Mardi Gras. In some circles it’s known as Fat Tuesday. For many, it’s just an excuse to eat pancakes for dinner. The day before Ash Wednesday, whatever it’s called, is a time for celebration, even excess — a time to get all of the crazy out of your system before treading the penitent path of Lent, the Christian season of fasting and contemplation that leads up to Easter.
The Dandelion Stompers
The Mill — Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.
If you can’t make it to the massive celebrations in New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro, and are looking for a way to celebrate here in Iowa City, look no further than The Mill. Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. will see local New Orleans-style jazz ensemble the Dandelion Stompers take the stage for some joyous Fat Tuesday fun. Tickets are $10. (Ed. Note: This event was listed incorrectly in our print calendar in issue 215 as “free.” We regret this error.)
The band, composed of Katie Roche (vocals), Chris Clark (baritone saxophone, vocals), Ira Greenstein (trombone, trumpet, pocket trumpet, vocals), Brandi Janssen (bass), Marc Janssen (guitar, vocals), Suzanne Smith (clarinet) and Jacob Yarrow (alto saxophone), formed in 2014 and has been steadily building a loyal following in the area since. Their rollicking jazz is great for dancing, and local swing dance aficionados can often be found as active audience members at their shows.
“We don’t have a formal partnership with the UI Swing Dance Club or the Balbloa Club, but they are our buddies,” Roche said of the dancers in an email. “It’s a dream come true to have a big group of folks who are such fun and talented dancers want to come out to your shows and get the dance floor moving.”
This show marks the Dandelion Stompers’ second annual Mardi Gras show. Roche notes that while none of the band members hail from New Orleans, “we’re all jazz heads.” She runs down the bona fides of the ensemble: “Ira Greenstein played in a ragtime marching band that also served as the house band for a place in California. Jacob Yarrow is a big band man and Suzanne Smith has her own big band. Chris Clark had a great 1910s band called “Mutiny in the Parlor” and I’ve been singing jazz from the 20s on for about 20 years.”
Roche says of last year’s show that it was “this perfect combination of a mellow scene and a full dance floor.”
The Dandelion Stompers play The Mill on Feb. 28. — photo by Miriam Alarcón Avila