Eastern Michigan University’s Sky Lounge was a lively but cool site on the night of Thursday, September 21, where more than 50 students gathered to experience a single relentless phenomenon: Jazz.
The Gin Dandies, a jazz powerhouse comprised of trumpeter Ingrid Racine, singer Brad McNett, drummer Rob Azscharin, keyboardist Keaton Poyer, and bassist Jordan Schug, led the four-hour bash, which consisted of social mingling, hors d’oeuvre, and, most importantly, dancing. People of all ages and experience danced through the night, primarily in swing. Junior Naomi Caridad said, “Everyone was dancing at different skills levels and having a great time,” which was clear in the atmosphere. The Sky Lounge holds a live band once a month, and it was impossible to tell who’s been before; everyone looked equally happy to be a part of the night.
One returning attendee, Junior Eddie Hamilla, appreciated the “cozy atmosphere,” and ability to “enjoy a nice drink,” while another, Senior Ryan Baxter, noted his background as a percussionist in high school being the drive to attend the event. He found it to be “friendly and relaxing.” This mood proved helpful, as it created a place for positivity and music to thrive. A new transfer student, Angeline Levasseur, supported this, and said she is “not a social butterfly,” but attended to get acclimated to campus life. Her happiness accurately portrayed the welcoming air of the night.
In hopes of finding the passion of the musician behind this colorful night, I spoke to Gin Dandies leader Ingrid Racine. She enjoyed the night and emphasized how “it’s always fun playing for dancers.” She detailed the band’s makeup, and that most of them appear together frequently, in different formations. Of this formation, Racine noted how she doesn’t play with McNett often, but enjoyed the atypical singing to what she’s used to. Racine explained The Gin Dandies’ name as being her “fake swing band name” for when she isn’t playing alone. As for how the actual band got this gig, she detailed how an electric bassist had the spot, but eventually gave it to her after a cycle of playing the Lounge, a cycle which Racine said is common amongst musicians. Her favorite song of the night was “Some of These Days,” as Racine enjoys songs with midtempos. She hoped to play the Lounge with them again next semester.
The Sky Lounge will continue to bring acts monthly, providing an environment for all those interested to dance and socialize.