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  • Writer's pictureThomas Doggett

Art Fest, Jazz Fest...things are happening again.

I've seen more people in the past two weeks than I've seen in the past 16 months. It's's's really nice. I know we haven't eradicated the coronavirus yet but as more people get vaccinated, I'm hopeful.

ENGLISH performed last week to an enthusiastic crowd at the Des Moines Art's Festival. There was a chance of rain and it looked like the sky's would stay clear but three songs in...the rain began. Instead of me explaining it, let me share a beautiful email I received from Janine:

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your show yesterday. The show started out with people on the grass, enjoying the sun peaking through the clouds. My son, Amal and I found a dry spot against a building and under an awning. About the third song you started Honestly. The audience was captured in the opening notes of saxophone... rain began to sprinkle. As the song went on the skies opened up and the rain fell. The rain did the opposite of putting a damper on, though. The energy of the band seemed to build with the unusual experience of playing in a rainstorm. The audience pushed to the perimeter, listening from the shelter of buildings and trees. Children ran, transparent with abandon... squishing and slapping and slopping through the open grass. The energy of the audience and the band was incredible. One of the band's friends from the audience was nowhere near a child's age, but soon enough she made a break for the stage to listen, leaving her adult shell behind for a moment and allowing herself to immerse in her feelings. This was such a moment in which to be present. The band experienced it from the stage, I wanted you to know what it looked like from the other end of the spectrum. It was incredible. Thank you for playing and I look forward to finding other English performances.

Photo by Bailey English

Photo by Jean Luc Lebowski

Photo by Jean Luc Lebowski

Photo by Jean Luc Lebowski


As I've mentioned before in blogs and vlogs, I think Cory Wong is awesome. He headlined at the Iowa City Jazz Festival and I got a chance to talk to him briefly and tell him how I like to play his "How to Musician" videos for my students. His band was mostly made up of the Wong Notes. On drums was Petar Janjic. I got to talk to Petar and tell him how I first heard him play in Minneapolis years ago when he was with LP Music (Eric Leeds and St. Paul Peterson).

with Cory Wong

with Petar Janjic.


It's nice to be a performer and an audience member again. I have a feeling that after the past year and a half that most people will venture out and attend concerts. I think we're going to witness a larger appreciation for the arts after what we just experienced. Maybe the history books will refer to this decade as the "The Roaring 20's." After all, the 1920's were proceeded by the Spanish Flu. Both from the stage and from the audience, I felt something special was happening.

Stay safe and healthy.


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