Dan Heath and the Paradise Band kicked off homecoming weekend at HU’s homecoming swing dance. The local Fort Wayne band played jazz and pop standards from the 1920s to the 1970s.
While posters and flyers advertised the swing dance, what students may not have realized was announced at the beginning of the concert: the audience was “in the midst of history” because this was also the first official school-sponsored homecoming dance.
HU’s first school-sponsored dance was last spring after the Jr./Sr. Formal.
The front of Zurcher Auditorium was turned into a dance floor, but some students said they had trouble dancing in the crowded space.
Sophomore Johanna Caron suggested making the dance area bigger next year.
“They should add the area between the upper and lower sections, so there is room for more dancing,” Caron said.
While the music consisted mostly of traditional swing dances like “Daydream Believer” the selection ranged from the tango- like “Sway” to a waltz-like “Moon River.”
The fast-paced swing music was a far cry from the usual slow dancing typical of most homecoming dances. During the band’s rendition of “Sweet Caroline,” a small dance party even broke out.
Senior Ryan Schnurr and sophomore Anna Stong seemed to know more dance steps than other couples. Schnurr said they often go swing dancing at Fountain Square in Indianapolis.
No matter the experience level, students, professors, alumni and community members seemed to enjoy the dancing just as much as the concert.
“The music was great and so was the dancing,” said sophomore Tori Cohagan. “It was like nothing the school has done for its students before.”
Margaret Roush, head of alumni relations, planned the entire event, which honored Dr. G. Blair and Mrs. Chris Dowden for their 20 years of service to Huntington University.
Roush made the announcement after the concert and the audience was encouraged to sign a card and celebrate with refreshments in the lobby.
Mrs. Dowden said she considered the event a great success.
“It was great seeing the students and the folks dance, it was great,” she said.