Today was one of my favorite nights of the year. Each year for the past four years one of my co-workers has invited me to go with her to the George Maurer Jazz Group Christmas Program. Each year has been delightful.
You never know what to expect from the Jazz Group. They get together the day of the program and practice for that evening’s performance. That’s the extent of their practice. It’s just one big jam session. They have some favorite songs that they try to include each year and then they add some new ones to the mix each year along with some new artists that join them. This year it was the nephew of one of the regulars that joined them to play his jazz guitar with the group.
The vocalist Ann Michels that joins the group is a regular performer at the Guthrie and Chanhassan Dinner Theatre and she just rolls with the group whatever direction they tend to meander. It is always fun to watch her interact with the band especially during the song “Santa Baby”.
One of the crowd favorites is “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” which is sung each year by one of the group. He’s a riot to listen to and is routinely seen dancing to the side of the band when he is not playing his instrument.
Here’s a sample of one of their earlier Christmas performances at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The theatre was totally renovated a few years. They did a beautiful job on the restoration. It has come a long way from the days when I sat in those seats to watch movies on the big screen during college.
The only way I would have enjoyed the performance more is if I hadn’t eaten so much for dinner at Olive Garden before the show.