In Focus: Josh Duffee & His Big Band Bring “First Ladies Of Song” To Hackensack
It will be a night to remember in Hackensack this weekend as world-renowned percussionist Josh Duffee and his Big Band pays tribute to the First Ladies of Song.
“They’re going to hear music that was performed by Ella Fitzgerald, by Peggy Lee, Anita O’Day, all these great vocalists that were really representing these big bands, and so they’re going to see a full big band on stage with saxophones, trumpets, trombones and a full rhythm section, but they’re also going to get to see a drum set owned by great Louie Bellson who played for Duke Ellington,” says Duffee.
Duffee has been collaborating with the Northwoods Art Council to bring the concerts to Hackensack for five years now. He’s one of concert director’s Sue Wignall’s former students. This year, Wignall recruited another one of her talented former students. She found Linnea’s talent when Wignall encouraged her to audition for the musical ‘Fame’.
“I’m very excited to be here and above all else, so excited and grateful to be able to connect to Wigg again. I mean, it was my senior year in high school when ‘These are my Children’ happened, when ‘Fame’ happened, and it’s always been something that has been a precious memory,” says Linnea.
The concert is meant for all ages. Organizers say that the music was specifically chosen because it’s family friendly and can get the crowd moving on their feet. They also want to trigger some nostalgic moments for some audience members.
Wignall says, “A lot of our audience are mature adults that like to come to these concerts, and I’m sure they’re going to walk out of here singing the songs with a big smile on their face. That’s our main objective.”
Day 2 of the First Ladies Of Song concert will happen tomorrow night in the Hackensack Community Building. Doors open at 6 pm. Tickets are available at the door but are selling out fast.
“Even in practicing the music, it really throws you back to that time and it gives you a real genuine appreciation for those women and for the artistry,” says Linnea.
Duffee says, “This is probably one of the most appreciative and fun audiences that we ever play for, and at the end of the night we always open it up for questions for the audience and they have some great questions for the band, but it’s just how everybody here in Hackensack makes you feel welcome and makes you feel like family.”