La Crosse Jazz Orchestra Celebrates 50th Anniversary in 2024


The band that brings you Jazz in the Park marks a major milestone in 2024.

Celebrating 50 years of great big band jazz concerts, the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra continues to explore the future and honor the history of this wonderful American music, says LJO director Greg Balfany.

"We've all come a long way since a single concert in 1974," he says. "Our concert year has expanded to 10 performances in Riverside Park and the Cappella Performing Arts Center. The band continues to be available for festivals, events and even a dance."

Over the years, the band has brought audiences the music of all the historic jazz bands including Woody Herman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman, Mary Lou Williams, Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich.

Contemporary music explorations include composers Gordon Goodwin, Maria Schneider, James Milley, Ayn Inserto, Annie Booth, John Fedchock and Pat Williams. Several of these are represented on three LJO CD releases: A Warm Breeze, Swinging Yuletide and Swing Shift.

More than 100 of the region's finest musicians have taken the stage with LJO since 1974. Guest artists include Kurt Elling, Byron Stripling, Typhanie Monique, Debbie O'Keefe, Reed Grimm, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry, Marshall Royal, Rob Parton, Kirk Garrison, Tom Luer, Deborah Brown and Steve Tormé.

The 2024 Jazz in the Park series of Sunday evening concerts kicks off on July 14 and runs weekly through August 4. The shows are free at start at 7 p.m. at the Riverside Park Bandshell in La Crosse.

Visit the LJO Events Calendar for more details on the 2024 Jazz in the Park and the Cappella Concert Series.




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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