Des Moines Big Band Celebrates 60th Season

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines Big Band is celebrating its 60th season this year and their drummer has been around for 59 of those seasons.

Every Wednesday night, the Des Moines Big Band takes the stage at Noce downtown.

“Downtown is on fire. Downtown is the place where we needed to be and we always knew that,” said Bryan Schumacker, who plays tenor saxophone in the Des Moines Big Band.

Band members said being downtown brings out a younger audience, along with the fans who have loved them for years.

Those fans have seen drummer Jim Eklof since the beginning. He has been in the band for 59 years.

“I came on board the second year it existed as such, and that was my sophomore year at Drake,” Eklof said.

Eklof said the drums are a unique instrument. He said, “It’s all about rhythm and steadiness and interpretation.”

The band strives to have the audience experience live music with all of their senses.

“Seeing the drummer hitting the drums or watching the trumpet player push his valves down or looking at the piano player’s hands and saying ‘I don’t know how they do that,'” said Des Moines Big Band’s lead trombone player Paul Bridson.

For these musicians, this band is a family.

“We’ve come up through the decades together and we’re not only musically aligned, but we are personally aligned in that way,” Schumacker said.

The Des Moines Big Band plays at Noce every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. until their season ends in May.


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