After a couple of difficult pandemic years, the Northwoods Arts Council is pleased — and relieved — to welcome  back Josh Duffee and his Big Band to the Hackensack Community Center for two concerts July 8 and 9.

Duffee, who hails from the Quad Cities area, is the leader of several musical groups that emulate the sounds and styles of great dance orchestras of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, such as Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.

This year’s concert theme is “SINATRA! Part II Blue,” a play on words based on Josh’s 2017 Sinatra concert in Hackensack and,  of course, Frank’s famous “ol’  blue eyes.”

Josh and his musicians will be joined by Twin Cities crooner-vocalist Jason Richards, who will reprise his 2017 performance, singing Frank’s greatest hits.

The concert will also include a selection of other numbers and audience favorite instrumentals from the Big Band  Era.

Josh has strong ties to the Hackensack area. As a child, he began vacationing on Webb Lake with his parents and now returns every year with his wife and son.

Back in 2015, Josh first collaborated with the Northwoods Arts Council to present the “Hackensack Hot Jazz Festival” and share the music he loves with the community he loves. Since then he has presented four more  music festivals with themes  including “The First Ladies of Song,” “The Kings of Swing Play Carnegie Hall,” and “SINATRA.”

Josh’s reputation in the music industry enables him to bring a group of talented professional  musicians  to Hackensack — musicians who have played with Doc Severinsen, Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Louie Bellson, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Natalie Cole, Wayne Newton and others.

Most of the musicians have returned to Hack year after year to perform, and some have come every year from 2015-2019.  Unlike what people might think, Josh  does not have a permanent band that he travels with but assembles a different group for each performance.

Happily, many of these performers love  coming back to Hack because of its small town charm, the way the audience appreciates the music and even how people treat and greet them when they visit local restaurants and shops.

Josh is looking forward to combining two of his favorite things -- performing and being Up North -- when he arrives in Hackensack.  

“I always enjoy working with the Northwoods Arts Council to present these concerts, with the added bonus of spending time in Hackensack, especially doing things like fishing on Webb Lake and hunting for treasures at the Flea Market!”

“I am absolutely thrilled to be back with Josh and the Big Band,  singing for our Sinatra  concert series,” Jason declared recently. “The tour I am currently on started in February, with performances through August. One of the stops ... is our rescheduled two night Sinatra concert in Hackensack. To say I was disappointed to have to reschedule this for two years due to the pandemic, is an  understatement.

“The audiences in Hackensack were so receptive to the show that bringing it back July 8 and 9 will be a blast!”

Tickets for the performances are now on sale on the NAC’s website, and are also on sale at Swanson’s Bait and Southside Fuel. Don’t miss this chance to experience big city entertainment close to home!


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