Danish “Big Band” group visits Manistee

Several members of the Horsens Music School Big Band visited Manistee on Thursday. The group is from Horsens, Denmark and is under the direction of Inger Due and Jørn Steffensen. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

Several members of the Horsens Music School Big Band visited Manistee on Thursday. The group is from Horsens, Denmark and is under the direction of Inger Due and Jørn Steffensen. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — A unique quality of music is that it is a universal language understood by people anywhere in the world, even if their spoken communication is completely different.

This quality allows people with a passion for music to have the opportunity to connect with fellow musicians, no matter how far from home.

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp offers an exchange program that helps young artists build these connections, with ensembles having the opportunity to tour and perform internationally.

On Thursday, several members from the Horsens Music School Big Band visited Manistee for the day in between concerts, which have taken place in various towns across northern Michigan.

The jazz ensemble took a trolley tour during their visit in Manistee on Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy Photo)

The jazz ensemble took a trolley tour during their visit in Manistee on Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy Photo)

The group is from Horsens, Denmark, and has been performing concerts throughout the region for the past two weeks as part of the Blue Lake International Exchange program.

Inger Due, the band director, said that the jazz group has made many stops in the short amount of time they have been in the country.

“We have travelled for the first 12 days of our tour in Illinois and Michigan,” said Due. “On Wednesday, we arrived from the Upper Peninsula after performing in Curtis, and we are currently stopped in Cadillac.”

The band is made up of 25 players in total, ranging in age from 13 to early twenties. Due said most of the players have participated in the Blue Lake International Exchange program in the past and are returning members, though the band is made up of players from a variety of experience.

“We have also brought several students that are here for the first time, and they are staying with host families in the Evart area,” she added.

Due said that the group is a jazz ensemble, and their performances include many American big band hits.

Almost half of the band spent the afternoon in Manistee and explored several iconic destinations, including the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, the Vogue Theatre and Ramsdell Inn. The group also took a trolley tour through town.

“It’s always interesting to play the concerts and meet the people, and there is a great deal of hospitality from the host families,” said Helena Robért, a returning player.

Due said they will soon be heading to Chicago, and then spend several days in New York before flying back to Denmark near the end of July.

They will perform at the farmer’s market in Evart, followed by an additional concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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