On Thursday, Feb. 21, inside the Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center, I was able to witness the fun, dance and entertainment of the third annual Swing Dance Night.
Over 200 students showed up to the event center to catch the wonderful acts and activities of this great night.
As I was making my way inside, I was able to speak to Leslie Gonzalez, vice president of the Coyote Music Society (CMS).
CMS was in charge of coordinating and sponsoring the event along with the CSUSB Music Department.
I discovered that these dance events are held to help raise funds that create musical scholarships which are awarded to students majoring in music on campus.
I also had the chance to speak to Dr. Robert Knop, CSUSB’s Jazz Ensemble/Studies Director since 2004, who took the time to shed some light on the festivities.
“This [event] is called “Swing Dance Night,” and for the last three years, every fall, we’ve done a “Latin Night,” with Latin dance and every winter we do a swing night. We are expecting about 200 to 250 people, which is about how many tickets we’ve sold for tonight,” said Knop.
Basic swing dance lessons were held for the attendants from 6-7:30 p.m.
It was great to see the crowd embrace the lessons and participate in the activities, many of them showed no fear and took on a song or two.
The CSUSB Jazz band came on around 7:45 p.m. and performed nothing but great, high-energy swing dance music for about 40 minutes.
I even noticed a couple of experts on the dance floor showing off their best moves for the crowd.
Coyote Radio’s DJ Amanda Fernandez was also present at the event and took over after the band finished their performance by playing different dance tunes.
First year student, Destiny Barrett, shared a few words about her experience at the event.
“It’s my first time [at this event]. I have to do it for music class,” she said.
The majority of the attendees were students from the university’s Music-180 course, getting credit for concert attendance, as well as the chance to expose themselves to different varieties of music.
Although Barrett avoided the dance lessons, she admitted to having a good time.
In addition to the great turn out and music, the night even gave us a few surprises.
One of these was the appearance of a special guest performer, Dr. Jack Poster.
Poster has been a local professional trumpet player since the 1940s and decided to take part in the event by playing alongside the band for the night.
It was a jump and jive kind of night, and the crowd was digging it.
If they weren’t out on the dance floor breaking a sweat, they were in there seats snapping fingers and tapping their feet to the beat.
I never thought jazz music and swing dancing would be this much fun.
I left the event with a single question in mind: when’s the next one?
I’m ready to bring out my dancing shoes and swing the night away.