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|Big band sound hits a high note|
STORY from MAINSTREAMS - August 2000RT: Betty and
friends to an
dance under the stars at their rural home.
Discovering dancing has
enlivened married life.
Don Helmann, editor
A dance in a ballroom under the stars to the sound of the 17-piece Classic Big Band on July 29 is still the talk of the town.
Those who attended Betty's garden party at Betty and Larry Thomas' rural Big Lake Township home still are raving about the music.
They danced on a special dance floor in a miniature pavilion built by Larry on the lawn of their home. It was lighted and adorned with flowers.
The band, directed by Dan Odegaard, performed danceable music of the '40s and '50s so expertly, none of the 250 present wanted to leave at 10pm.
The Nostalgics, a vocal quartet, also performed.
The guests even passed the hat and took donations so the band would play for another hour.
And they are begging Betty to put on another one. How did such an event come about? Betty and Larry Thomas love to dance.
It is hard to believe that until six years ago, they had never danced together. Then one night at a wedding dance, Larry showed Betty the box step, and they've been dancing ever since to big band tunes.
Twelve years ago, they became hooked on the big band sound. Now they dance to live big band music every Thursday night at the Wabasha Street Caves and the Richfield Americal Legion Club.
"Rod Smith's Big Band really turned us on...that was a real swing band," said Betty.
She and Larry learned how to dance without lessons, and today those who watch them say they are a talented dancing couple.
"We just feel the music," she said. "We are there for the music."
Soon the bands themselves noticed the graceful couple, and when they heard about the possibility of playing at the Thomas farm, they insisted on coming. Odegaard told Betty, "Sometimes you have to take the music to the people."
Betty and Larry were thrilled with the music and the turnout. For them, dancing has been a mid-life saver. Some nights they spend two hours a night, just the two of them, dancing on their special dance floor.
"It's good exercise, and we have quality time with each other." Betty said. "No matter how tired we are, as soon as we hear the music it makes you come alive."
|[RT: Betty and Larry at the Lake Harriet Bandshell] [Left: Betty
and Larry Thomas dressed to kill for the Classic Big Band USO tour.]
|Webmaster notes: Larry and Betty often follow where the big bands go.|