For nearly 50 years, the Barbary Coast Dixieland Showband has been entertaining audiences of all ages with live shows featuring a distinctive blend of toe-tapping music, humor and showmanship. “It’s a wildly popular variety show,” says John Potter, executive director of the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, where the band is scheduled to play June 4. “Their shows always sell out, and folks always want to know when they’re coming back.” (Mark your calendars for June 4, 2017).
Most of the band’s seven members are multi-instrumentalists; they play a total of 19 instruments among them, from piano and clarinet to trombone and drums. During a performance, the skilled performers have been known to switch instruments onstage without missing a beat. “It’s just part of the excitement,” says band leader Dick Petersen, who’s been a member of the group since the beginning. “We like to entertain.”
The band plays a variety of music that spans decades and genres, from jazz standards like “Sweet Georgia Brown” to Big Band medleys, pop classics and Broadway favorites. For this performance, pianist Bobby vanDeusen travels from Florida to join the fun.
Since it was formed in 1967, the band has released 18 recordings and performed at numerous jazz festivals across the country. Highlights of the long run include performing for President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and traveling to Nagasaki, Japan, in 1990, with St. Paul mayor Jim Scheibel. In 2001, the band was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, alongside Bob Dylan, Prince and Judy Garland.
The Barbary Coast Dixieland Showband performs 7:30 p.m. June 4, at the Phipps Center for the Arts, 109 Locust St., Hudson. Tickets are $19–$26 and are available at the website here.