Thursday Night Music Club returns to the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for a showcase of jazz and rock standards

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One of Tallahassee’s most popular big bands sends its swing sound back to Florida State’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall later this week. We spoke with two of the driving forces behind the group known as “Thursday night music club.”

Florida State’s Patrick Dunnigan is about as close as you can get to mythical teacher Harold Hill, famous in the Seventy-Six Trombones. He is the director of the university’s orchestras, which gives him the direction of the school’s various symphonic and concert ensembles, as well as the legendary Marching Chiefs. But it also has a few musical hustles, like Tallahassee Winds and Thursday Night Music Club.

“It’s a mix of career musicians and really talented, dedicated amateurs who have made their living in something other than the music industry. And it’s been going on for – my God – maybe 10, 12, 14 years. The band, in fact, started in 2006 when a founding member invited musician friends and acquaintances to meet in his living room, and has come a long way since then.

Thursday Night Music Club also has a set of featured singers. For years, those roles were filled by Lisa Foltz and Fred Lee.

“It’s so fun and energizing to play with these guys. And I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to sing with them for eight years now,” Foltz explained.

Trisha Moynihan

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WFTU Public Media

Singer Lisa Foltz leads the Thursday Night Music Club at the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

By the way, the name “Thursday Night Music Club” has no connection with the title of Cheryl Crow’s debut album. It’s just the weeknight when the band usually gets together for rehearsals. Producer and guitarist Dunnigan says that after too long an absence from live performances, the band are ready to strut their stuff publicly once again in the most magnificent performance space in the area.

“We are back on stage at the Ruby [Diamond Concert Hall]. This will be our first time [publically] on stage at the Ruby since 2019.”

Singer Lisa Foltz said the prospect of filling that hallowed hall again inspires everyone in the band to put on a real show, especially after what was essentially a teaser performance a short time ago.

“We are so lucky to have this opportunity to play Ruby and we were recently able to perform for Florida State University’s summer camp and that made us even more ready to play this 14th annual jazz concert.”

Dunnigan said the evening’s playlist will cover a lot of stylistic ground.

“’Little Darlin’, which is a Count Basie tune; ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’, which was Woody Herman’s signature song. But then we take it up to the modern era. ‘Birdland’, Weather Report’s large fusion composition; ‘Eleanor Rigby’, a stunning arrangement of a Beatles standard. It’s just a huge mix of materials.

And in keeping with the ensemble’s name, Foltz said the concert will take place, when else? : this Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m.

“You can buy tickets online at Thursday eveningmusicclub.org. You can find out more about the band and see some photos on the tallahasseearts.org listing for Thursday Night Music Club. We are also on the WFSU Community Calendar.”

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