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Nanaimo swing band to host dance lesson and jazz performance

The Mahogany Band and Harbour City Swing partner for July 23 event
Matt Aasen, left, Simon Paterson, Al Murray (seated), Patrick Courtin, Andrew Cullen and Nico Rhodes (not pictured) make up the Mahogany Swing Band that will play the Unitarian Hall in Nanaimo on July 23. (Submitted photo)

Swing lovers are invited to an evening of live jazz and dance at the Unitarian Hall in Nanaimo this weekend.

Doors to the hall open at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, when Josh Colman and Sarah Hughes of Harbour City Swing will provide a dance lesson before the Mahogany Swing Band takes the stage.

Patrick Courtin of the Mahogany Swing Band said this combined show is a continuation of a series he had hoped to carry since the first event in 2019 at the Scout Hut on Comox Road.

“Josh attended a swing dance event that I put on before the pandemic, and thankfully, through him, I’ve been able to do a bit more of that work,” he said. “We’re so delighted to be able to put this on again … And hoping to do more of these, and hoping to collaborate with Harbour City Swing some more, too.”

The Mahogany Swing Band – with Courtin on piano, Simon Paterson on vocals, Andrew Cullen on string bass, Nico Rhodes on saxophone and Al Murray on drums – are looking to provide a “fun, speakeasy-like atmosphere” with “lots of room on the dance floor” once again.

Courtin said he deliberately capped ticket sales for the event to a lower than capacity level as to ensure enough room for the Lindy Hop, as well as personal space.

Before Saturday’s event, the swing band will play a similar show on July 21 at the Campbell River Spirit Square, as presented by the Campbell River Art Gallery.

Both the Nanaimo and Campbell River shows are part of a‘summer mini-tour the Mahogany Swing Band is holding, which will also include a performance at the Victoria Public Market July 23-24.

“The music we’re going to play will be a bit of a mix. We really love to play old music from the 1920s and 1930s … We especially love vintage jazz. Particularly, the music of the Great American Songbook, as it’s called. And we just love presenting that music – we try to dig into the history and understand where the music comes from,” said Courtin, and added their favourites include Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

Ticket information for Nanaimo’s show can be found at

READ MORE: Nanaimo jazz pianist revisits music from Charlie Brown Christmas special

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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