Letter: Ballroom dancing, live music make happy, healthy guests

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 10:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 10:35 p.m. CDT

Just Make It Happen produced the 12th annual “Let’s Dance” Big Band Weekend from July 21 to 23 at Northern Illinois University’s Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Attendees included residents from 50 Illinois cities and states from Alaska to Florida.

Evaluations listed a spacious wood floor allowing smooth physical moves, great food, natural acoustics, on-site hotel, clean venue, professional teachers and most important, live big bands size 10, 12 and 17.

High marks for Roger Hintzsche’s Shananigans Dance Combo with Zach Harris on vocals at Saturday’s cabaret dance. Also access to Travelin Shoes from Milwaukee and their professional assistance.

Shananigans salutes NIU’s Jazz Studies program for producing outstanding musicians eager to perform.

We hire ’70s to today’s grads who demonstrate unusual talent for classic live big band performance.

JMIH guest band compensation policy requires a generous salary to its musicians for their services. We celebrate talent!

NIU Shananigans’ “new generation” guests included Nick Roach, a recent Master of Fine Arts trombone grad, and Frank McKearn, trumpet.

JMIH’s “break-even” budget policy depends on guest sales. Wonderful partnerships include OCCreative, NIU’s Holmes Student Center, guests and musicians. The win-win result is outstanding quality at affordable prices.

We are grateful to Kishwaukee Hospital’s “Dancing for Health” scholarship program for DeKalb County residents, which provided $10 discounts.

JMIH encourages school physical education classes, area studios and park districts to continue providing ballroom lessons and live music dance opportunities.

“Let’s Dance” participants included Dow Chemical executives, farmers, mining equipment, physicists, mathematicians, accountants, lawyers, college professors, ballroom teachers from Purdue University, Sears Tower Union Shop air-conditioning experts, postal executives, police chiefs, nurses and doctors.

Attendees loved the relaxed and exciting “Let’s Dance” weekend experience.

The Holmes Student Center “Let’s Dance” room block for 2018 is full. Cindy Meeks, hotel manager, has announced opening 13 more rooms for our guests.

Ian Crone, executive director of Holmes Student Center, is excited to partner with JMIH and expand “Let’s Dance” events to benefit our community and regional friends.

JMIH is proud of Duke Ellington’s jazz and dance legacy. It is alive at “Let’s Dance.” We loved joyful smiles and guests’ admonition to create more “Let’s Dances!”

Congratulations to all residents who participated. It was fun!

John D. Smith

President of Just Make It Happen Inc.

DeKalb