Music Medley

Mikayla Rolling’s Big Band makes a scene at Hilltop’s The Lookout

More stories from Hayley Jacobson

Photo by Taylor Wilkinson
Mikayla Rolling’s Big Band plays for students involved with the Two to Tango dance club.

Trumpets, trombones and a sole bass player performed to the crowd of dancers, filling the building with song. 

Hilltop was filled with the sound of music last Saturday as Mikayla Rolling’s Big Band played one of the first events put on by the Lookout, Hilltops lounge area.

The performance was one of the first of the school year. The band partnered with Two to Tango, a dance club on campus, to put on the event.

The band performed a variety of jazzy tunes, ranging from Switch In Time, to Basie Straight Ahead, to Star Wars. A good majority of their songs performed were from the Count Basie catalogue.

“We’re a sight reading band,” Leo Johnson, a fifth-year student, said. “We play the music for the first time [that night].”

The songs in their repertoire are not uncommon ones. Many are well known to most musicians Mikayla Rolling, a fifth year music-liberal arts major and leader of the band, said.

The band performed in The Lookout and their music, partnered with the dance instruction lead by Two to Tango, drew in a large crowd. Camille Hazledine, a first-year student, said she enjoyed it.

“The community is really involved in everything,” Hazledine said, “it’s all really connected.”

Hazledine said she and her friends were drawn into the lookout by the large amounts of jazz kids walking in with instruments, and wanted to check it out. She also said that some older friends of hers told her and others the event would be taking place in hilltop, but not what time.

Hazledine and her friends agreed that the music was good. They enjoyed the dances and were having a good night. Hazletine said she hoped something like this would be put on again on campus. 

Kathryn Mohrhauser, a first-year student who is interested in music education, was also an attendee of the event.

“It’s cool seeing people your age playing in public” Mohrhauser said. “It’s fun hearing them play because I also play the trumpet.”

The band’s members are always rotating, Rolling said, with anyone who can sight read and play an instrument that is willing to come and play with them.

“It’s been a long running tradition to have students run bands on and off campus,” Johnson said.

Rolling started leading the band five years ago at The Plus. Two years ago, she decided to make the band a more serious thing and planned more gigs for the band to play at other venues, she said.

Many of the members were roped in by their friends, Johnson included, who said when you know someone in a band like that, they tend to bring you in too.

They have played around in several different venues but this was their first time teaming with Two to Tango, who drew a crowd from their usual members.

The dancing was a large pull, and the band hopes to play at The Lookout again, Rolling said.

The band will be playing on campus again Oct. 26 in the cabin. More information about the band can be found on their Facebook page, Mikayla Rolling Big Band.

Jacobson can be reached at [email protected].