The University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc Lakeshore Big Band is conducted by Professor Michael J. Arendt, who founded the band in 1990. The band was an outgrowth of the UW-Manitowoc Lakeshore Wind Ensemble in response to the immense popularity of the “big band” music that the wind ensemble performed at its concerts. Both musical organizations include UW-Manitowoc students as well as community members who bring a wide range of musical experiences to the organization.
The Lakeshore Big Band performs instrumental hits of the big band era as well as contemporary tunes written in the “big band” style. Several vocal soloists are featured with the big band. Kim Hofmann and David Bourgeous have sung with the LBB and with the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble for many years, and bring a special excitement to the concerts with their renditions. A new-comer, who made her very successful debut with the big band last year, is Jennifer Layman, who was a non-traditional student at UW-Manitowoc and who has an extensive performing background.
The Lakeshore Big Band presents two concerts each season, bringing back the wonderful big band sounds of Glenn Miller, the Dorseys, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and also performs timeless classics written by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and other American musical legends. The Lakeshore Big Band also joins the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble for “The Biggest of the Big Bands” concert. Instrumental and vocal arrangements of big band hits are featured.