Exclusive interview with Dan McElrath of the Dan Mac Band.
A: There is such great artistic energy in Cordova! So many talented folks in such a small town and the new performance center is just a testament to the dedication you have to the arts there. As performers, there is nothing better than the energy of an enthusiastic audience and we certainly enjoyed that in Cordova. Besides that, the hospitality of the people in Cordova was extraordinary. It was such a treat to get to know so many amazing people!
Q: For those not familiar with your music, how would you describe your style? What are some of the things attendees at Salmon Jam should start looking forward to?
A: Fortunately, because of the extensive experience represented in the band we have never been locked into a “style”. We have done everything from original jazz, to Celtic jazz, to big band music, to classic rock, Stevie Wonder and everything in between. I would say what we most value is creating music that brings energy to the stage and the audience and we are very much looking forward to making that happen at the Jam!
Q: Can you tell us anything special about the band members – their music, their lives?
A: Three of us were in the Air Force Band of the Pacific (Vocalist John “Pypes” Teamer, trumpetist Ted Stearns and bassist Dirk Westfall). These guys played music at the highest level for many years and are a great foundation for our group. Our drummer Cameron Cartland studied percussion art Berkeley School of Music as well as Brazilian percussion in Brazil. He is one of the top drummers and session players in Alaska. John Damberg and I both have music degrees, are composers and have been music educators. John is still very active as a percussion adjunct at UAA and Director of the Alaska Jazz Workshop a non-profit of his creation. Ira Sellers has been playing guitar his entire life and is still one of the most active regularly performing artists in Alaska as not only a guitarist but also a vocalist and keyboard player. Jacque Annandale (Saxophone) is a regular performer on the Anchorage music scenes well as with the Anchorage Symphony. (My bio can be found at reverbnation.com/danmcelrath)
Q: We’re really excited you’re going to offer some music clinics while you’re here. We’re especially excited since this will be the first time several clinics will go on simultaneously, which will then bring all participants together to play at the end. Can you tell us a little more about the clinics & who should attend?
A: We plan to offer clinics for bras/saxophone, drums/percussion, keyboard improv, and bass. The clinics will be targeting primarily intermediate to advanced performers although anyone would be welcome. Our hope is by the end of the clinics individuals will be able to meet together for a jam on the tunes they will have rehearsed.
Q: Would you like to add or tell us anything else about your music or your trip to rock the Salmon Jam stage this July?
A: The Dan Mac Band has been privileged to play in some of the finest venues and festivals in Alaska over the years and we are VERY excited about being featured at the Salmon Jam for the first time! Thanks for the invitation and let’s make this one of the most memorable ever!