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Attending a Jazz in the Park concert is one of the coolest things to do on a Sunday evening in La Crosse.

That’s according to La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat, who added, “The wonderful and talented musicians, the beautiful setting at Riverside Park and the sense of community makes this a true celebration of La Crosse.”

That’s something the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra takes pride in.

Greg Balfany

Balfany

This is the 45th year the group has offered the free summer concert series, and director Greg Balfany says this year’s events will feature more guest artists than ever before.

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“We’re excited to bring in three outstanding musicians from around the country,” he said. “Michael B. Nelson was a soloist with Prince and the JazzMN Orchestra. L.A. saxophonist Tom Luer tours with John Beasley’s Monk’estra and records with Kurt Elling and many others, and Debbie O’Keefe is a standout Twin Cities vocalist featured with the Blue Eyes Big Band.”

In addition to the Jazz in the Park events, the group will provide music for Saturday’s Caledonia Street Block Party and Moon Tunes on June 20.

The summer schedule is:

  • Saturday, June 1 — Caledonia Street Block Party, 6 p.m. on La Crosse’s North Side
  • Sunday, June 16 — Jazz in the Park, 7 p.m., Riverside Park. Guest artist: Prince music director/trombonist Michael B. Nelson
  • Thursday, June 20 — Moon Tunes, 5:30 p.m.,Riverside Park. Featuring LJO and TUGG
  • Sunday, July 14 — Jazz in the Park, 7 p.m., Riverside Park. Guest artist: Twin Cities vocalist Debbie O’Keefe
  • Sunday, July 21 — Jazz in the Park, 7 p.m., Riverside Park. Guest artist: L.A. saxophonist Tom Luer, plus the Coulee Region All Stars High School Big Band

“For 45 years our mission has been to promote, preserve and forward the creation of jazz music through free live performances available to everyone in our area,” Balfany said. “As a nonprofit group, we’ve been supported by private donations and the hard work of numerous volunteers. Starting this year, we’ve also been added as a fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation, which will help us grow for our next 45 years.”

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