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Singer Michael Andrew to Join UW-Eau Claire's
Salute to the Big Band Era and Tony Bennett

RELEASED: Sept. 7, 2006

Michael Andrew
(photo credit: Michael Cairns)

EAU CLAIRE — A surprise guest artist has been added to the line-up for this year's popular Big Band Era Concert at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Robert Baca, director of Jazz Studies, couldn't be more pleased and excited.

"A Salute to the Big Bands and Tony Bennett," with special guest artist Michael Andrew, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, in Zorn Arena.

"I was thrilled that a singer and performer of Michael Andrew's caliber responded to my invitation to join us in our Big Band Era Concert, and particularly in our tribute to Tony Bennett," said Baca. "It's going to add even more excitement to our already dynamite show."

Andrew, an actor, singer, composer and entertainer who has been performing songs from the American popular songbook since he was a young boy, probably had some extra incentive to agree to join the concert. Andrew graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1987, just one year after Baca joined the UW-Eau Claire faculty 20 years ago.

For two years Andrew was the headline singer and bandleader at the world famous Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York City. His musical comedy, "Mickey Swingerhead and The Earthgirls," was a hit with audiences and the press and led to the formation of his band, Swingerhead, which toured throughout the country. At one time Andrew and his band performed every Saturday night at the Coconut Club in Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton, where Griffin described Andrew as "one of the great singers of all time."

Currently Andrew performs all across the nation with his 18-piece big band and smaller ensembles. He's performed as a singer and bandleader in the movies "Heartbreakers" and "Stroke of Genius." He also is a frequent guest with symphony orchestras and continues to develop theatrical projects that showcase his comic characters and classic singing style.

UW-Eau Claire's award-winning Jazz Ensembles I and II, under the direction of Robert Baca and Jeffery Crowell, respectively, will perform the usual salute and swing repertoire for the Big Band Concert, providing dancers with plenty of opportunities to both jump and jive and slow dance.

The two ensembles typically engage in a lively "swing battle," featuring a full array of instrumental and vocal features and surprises, including performances by Baca and Crowell, both of whom are accomplished artists who have performed with famous names and continue to perform regularly around the country. Tony Bennett is just one of the famous names with whom Baca has performed. Andrew will join in to sing many of Bennett's featured favorites.

Proceeds from "A Salute to the Big Bands and Tony Bennett" will provide support for activities in the jazz studies area.

Tickets are $15 for the general public; $12 for those 62 and over, youth 17 and under and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff; $11 per person for organized groups of 10 or more; and $10 for UW-Eau Claire and UW System students. Tickets sales began Aug. 14 at the University Service Center in Davies Center. Call 715-836-3727 or 800-949-UWEC to request a brochure with more information and a ticket order form. Tickets can be charged by phone for an additional $3 fee. Patrons are requested to identify any special assistance needs when purchasing tickets.

Tickets also will be sold at the door beginning one hour before the performances.



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