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Civic Winds brings big band for Christmas

John Rubano and Allison Dance, right, rehearse with the Civic Winds Jazz Orchestra for Saturday’s Ike’s America Holiday Show, which will be held at the Durango VFW. (Courtesy)
Jazz orchestra presents ‘Ike’s America Holiday Show’ at VFW

There’s no better time to get all dolled up and hit the town to cut a rug than during the holiday season.

For Durango, that time will be Saturday night at the local VFW post when the Southwest Civic Winds Jazz Orchestra presents “Ike’s America Holiday Show,” featuring John Rubano and Alison Dance on vocals and “Ike’s America” host Ted Holteen.

Holteen – who’s also the spokesman for La Plata County – has hosted the “Ike’s America Radio Program” for the better part of 15 years, first on KDUR and now on Thursday nights on KSUT. The show specializes in music from the Great American Songbook, encompassing songs from the 1930s through the ’60s, with Holteen offering historical context and backstories to the music he plays.

Saturday night’s show at the VFW will take what he does on the radio and present it live.

“I get on stage and I talk about songs and then people who can sing and perform actually do that,” he said, adding that the last time a Christmas show featuring “Ike’s America” was performed was during the holidays in 2019 – right before the pandemic hit.

If you go

WHAT: Southwest Civic Winds presents Ike’s America Holiday Show.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 6:30 p.m.).

WHERE: Durango VFW, 1550 Main Ave.

TICKETS: $25, available online at https://bit.ly/3FVZn5V.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.southwestcivicwinds.org/concerts.

And, of course, the dance floor will be open.

Rubano, who has been sitting in with Southwest Civic Winds for about a year and a half, said the jazz band came together about three years ago, performing a Christmas show at the Strater Hotel. The band eventually invited Holteen to do what he does with “Ike’s” – give the stories about some of the Christmas classics.

For Rubano, the music of the American Songbook endures because for a lot of people, it’s what they grew up on.

“It’s their pop music. And, you know, that’s eternal,” he said. “I mean, people will go see Duran Duran still, so what does that say? ... It’s a moment, it’s their youth. So that’s why older people go see it. Younger people, guys like me, grew up listening to it from my parents, so that’s why I love it so much.

“These are the greatest songs ever written,” he said.

And someone’s got to keep this style of music alive, Holteen said: “I can’t have it go away.”

“They’re called standards for a reason, you know? ... It’s real music, it’s actual songwriting,” he said. “You have to have some sort of common ground and there are songs that everyone has heard or known, you know, and whether you actually hear them all the time. It’s like how do I know that song? Well, because it’s a standard.”


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