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Thursday Night Music Club is returning to Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for a showcase of jazz and rock standards

man sings into the microphone, there is a full section of horns behind him
Trisha Moynihan
WFSU Public Media
Fred Lee sings as Thursday Night Music Club performs for FSU College of Music summer band camps.

One of Tallahassee’s most popular big bands returns its swinging sound to Florida State’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall later this week. We spoke with two of the driving forces behind the group known as "Thursday Night Music Club."

Florida State’s Patrick Dunnigan is about as close to the mythical professor Harold Hill of “Seventy-Six Trombones” fame as you can get. He is the university’s director of bands, which puts him in charge of the school's various symphonic and concert ensembles, as well as the legendary Marching Chiefs. But he has some musical side hustles as well, such as Tallahassee Winds and Thursday Night Music Club.

“It’s a mix of career musicians and really talented, dedicated amateurs who have made their living in something other than the music business. And it’s been going on for - gosh - maybe 10, 12, 14 years.” The band, in fact, began in 2006 when a founding member invited friend and acquaintance musicians to gather in her living room, and has come a long way since.

Thursday Night Music Club also has a set of featured vocalists. For years, those roles have been filled by Lisa Foltz and Fred Lee.

“It is just so delightful and energizing to perform with these guys. And I’m just so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to sing with them for eight years now," Foltz shared.

woman in dress, on stage, singing in front of full band of rhythm and horns
Trisha Moynihan
WFSU Public Media
Vocalist Lisa Foltz fronting Thursday Night Music Club in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

By the way, the name “Thursday Night Music Club” has no connection to the title of Cheryl Crow’s debut album. It’s just the night of the week the band typically gets together for rehearsals. Director and guitarist Dunnigan said, after a too-long absence from live performance, the group is ready to strut its stuff publicly once again in the region’s most magnificent performance space.

“We are back on stage at Ruby [Diamond Concert Hall]. This will be our first time [publically] on stage at Ruby since 2019.”

Vocalist Lisa Foltz said the prospect of once again filling that hallowed hall has everyone in the band eager to put on a real show, especially after what was essentially a teaser performance a little while ago.

“We are just so blessed to have this opportunity to perform in Ruby and we did get to perform for the Florida State University summer band camp recently and that has made us even more ready to perform this 14th-annual jazz showcase concert.”

Dunnigan said the evening’s playlist will cover a lot of stylistic ground.

“’Little Darlin’, which is a Count Basie tune; ‘Woodchopper's Ball’, which was the signature tune of Woody Herman. But then we take it all the way to the modern era. ‘Birdland’, the great Weather Report fusion composition; ‘Eleanor Rigby’, an amazing arrangement of a Beatles standard. It’s just a huge mix of material.”

And in keeping with the ensemble’s name, Foltz said the concert will take place, when else?: this Thursday night kicking off at 7:30 p.m.

“You can get tickets online at thursdaynightmusicclub.org. You can read more about the band and see some pictures at the tallahasseearts.org listing for Thursday Night Music Club. We are also on the community calendar at WFSU."

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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