La Crosse Jazz Orchestra Cappella Concert Series Debuts with Janet Planet


The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra kicks off its first-ever concert hall series in the Cappella Performing Arts Center on Friday, Oct. 20. This new three-concert season launches with vocalist Janet Planet as guest artist.  

"Janet has won the hearts and praise of audiences throughout the world," says LJO bandleader Greg Balfany. "A favorite of jazz festivals everywhere and too many jazz clubs to remember, Janet brings a sophisticated array of jazz genres to life with each show. Her expressive range may draw you in with a delicate whisper one moment then knock you back in your seat with a heart-wrenching bluesy shout."  

This will be her fourth appearance with the LJO. For this program, Balfany says, she will draw from her many recordings singing an Aretha Franklin-style version of “Amazing Grace” and paraphrasing Bob Dylan with incredible jazz/blues versions of his many songs including “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” and “I Shall Be Released.” An Ellington-style arrangement of “The Very Thought of You” will take the listener to the Great American Song Book.  

Janet will be joined on this program by her husband, the virtuoso tenor saxophonist and arranger Tom Washatka. Tom will be featured on Doc Severinsen’s “In The Mood” and other selections.

Balfany says the LJO will also perform selections from its extensive library, including Chicago pianist Chris White on a beautiful rendition of “For All We Know.” Chris will also kick off the retro-sounding “Stomping on a Riff,” which also features several of the band members.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023 at the Cappella Performing Arts Center, 721 King St. in La Crosse. Tickets available online or in person at the Cappella Center.

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The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra is Western Wisconsin's premier big band. Directed by Greg Balfany, the group is best known through its Jazz in the Park concert series. The LJO mission: to promote, preserve and forward the creation of jazz music through free live performances available to all in our region. LJO operates under fiscal sponsorship from La Crosse Community Foundation.


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