Bringing the ‘20s to Eau Claire

Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. teams up with UW-Eau Claire to put on 3rd annual Gatsby’s Gala



Attendees dressed in costume and danced to jazz-inspired music performed by UW-Eau Claire jazz ensembles.

Decorations, dancing and music inspired by the 1920s will transport attendees of this year’s Gatsby’s Gala right back to the jazz age.

The 3rd annual Gatsby’s Gala will be held at 8 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 11 in the Ojibwe Ballroom in Davies Student Center. The event is put on by Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. in partnership with UW-Eau Claire.

The gala is based on “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. After the 2013 movie adaptation came to theaters, Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. decided it would be fun to have the Eau Claire Jazz I and Jazz II ensembles perform music from the roaring ‘20s.

Thus, they created the Gatsby’s Gala.

Eau Claire Jazz, Inc.’s communication director, Jessica Finman, said the biggest difference between this year and previous years is less modern songs will be performed this year. Finman said they really wanted to put the focus on music from the Gatsby era instead.

The evening is an important one, she said, because of how it can bring the Eau Claire community together with the students.

“I think that the work that Eau Claire Jazz does is important because it ties the community and college students together,” Finman said. “A really great way to do that is through music.”

The Ojibwe Ballroom will be transformed into a ‘20s style event on Friday, complete with decorations, food, dancing and music provided by Eau Claire’s Jazz I and Jazz II ensembles.

Tim Frederick, a junior economics student, will be playing tenor saxophone for the Jazz I ensemble. Throughout the night, they’ll be playing a wide variety of jazz music from the ‘20s. Frederick has performed at the gala the past two years and is excited to perform again, he said.

“It was really fun being able to perform for that many people,” Frederick said. “It was a fun experience for us.”

There will also be plenty of featured singers performing alongside the jazz ensembles this year, adding something different to the sound of the night, he said.

One of the featured singers of the night is Kenneth Pereira, an assistant voice professor at Eau Claire. He will be performing a song from the Great American Songbook titled “Cheek to Cheek” by Irving Berlin. He said the gala itself is important because it celebrates talent, jazz and the culture of the times.

“Anytime we can come together and celebrate what’s best about culture, arts and the university is a good thing,” Pereira said. “This event really showcases the talent at (Eau Claire) and I’m honored to sing with them this week.”

Attendees are asked to dress the part for the gala to add to the ambiance of the evening. In past years, the room has been flooded with attendees dressed in flapper dresses and vintage-inspired suits. Local stores such as Eclectica on Grand and Muldoon’s Menswear are offering discounts on their vintage attire for those who are attending the gala.

Doors for the event open at 6:30 p.m. The bar and ballroom open at 7:30 p.m. and the event begins at 8 p.m. Tickets for the event can be purchased on Eau Claire’s website and at the Service Center in Davies for $20 with a student I.D. or $30 for the general public.