Quartet has a jazzy way to perform a cappella

This concert Dec. 12 at the MAC will be a reunion of sorts for the group Swing Set

Get ready for a swinging good time this December when the popular Comox Valley jazz quartet Swing Set performs at the McMillan Art Centre this December.

The all-female a cappella group will get you into the holiday mood with jazzy renditions of seasonal favourites.

“We all really like making jazz harmonies,” said group member Wendy Nixon Stothert. “We love to sing.”

Swing Set, who has been performing for around five years, features Stothert, Jenn Forsland, Michelle Weckesser and Dale Graham. As Linda Matteson-Reynolds, administrator at the MAC said in a news release, these four women have some serious talent and experience. Stothert and Forsland are music teachers and choral directors in the Comox Valley, while Graham is known for her work in folk and Celtic music, as well as with the group Indigo Jazz. Weckesser is also known for her soloing, which comes with a background of classical and jazz credentials.

Matteson-Reynolds is looking forward to having Swing Set perform at the MAC. “Jazz is always popular,” she said last Thursday, describing how this type of music brings in a diverse crowd. In particular, she said, you’ll find a lot of young people who play in high school jazz bands attending.

Stothert is excited for the show as well. As someone who spends more time conducting other vocalists, “to have a situation where we get to sing ourselves is exciting.”

The concert will also be a reunion of sorts for the group. After Weckesser moved to the Cowichan Valley a few years ago, the group hasn’t been able to continue singing together on a regular basis.

“We made a pact to get together and sing at Christmas,” explained Stothert.

However, don’t expect a second-rate performance. The singers have experience on their side, as well as the fact  Swing Set will sing three times before coming to the MAC, which will be their only performance outside of the Comox Valley this season. Also, their set will be filled with songs the group has sung before (including the crowd favourite Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in which the singers imitate classical instruments with their voices) so they’ll get up to speed quickly, said Stothert.

Still, if you’d like to hear what Swing Set sounded like in their prime — that is, when they practised once a week — the group will have their latest album Swing Set Live at Joe’s Garage available for sale at the performance.

Swing Set will perform at the MAC on Friday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., with doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for OCAC memberss. Tickets and memberships are available for purchase at the MAC.



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