Dance to Beat Cancer

Grace Christiansen

Lawrence University will be hosting a “Dance To Beat Cancer” Friday, June 6 from 8 p.m. to midnight on the old Union Street plaza. The dance, which is to be an old-fashioned, big band street dance, will feature all of Lawrence’s large jazz ensembles — the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band and Jazz Workshop.
The groups will be led by Lawrence Director of Jazz and Improvisational Music Fred Sturm, who also organized the event.
Sturm, who has fought an ongoing battle with cancer, came up with the idea after his first bout with it three years ago. Said Sturm, “I searched for ways to get personally involved as a volunteer in the battle against the disease … I was deeply touched by the professionalism and selflessness of my caregivers. My doctors and nurses were true heroes.”
He continued, “I needed to find a way to pay some of that back. I shared that thought with my oncologist, and he encouraged me to channel my talents and experience into meaningful volunteerism in the battle against cancer. That triggered the idea for the dance.”
The concert is the beginning of turning that desire into a reality.
The concert will feature the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman from the late 1930s and early 1940s. It is free and open to the community, but donations are accepted and will be donated in full to the American Cancer Society, in memory of Lawrence professor Jennifer Fitzgerald.
Said Sturm, “there is no admission fee, no suggestion donation amount, no expectations of any kind. We simply hope that people attending the dance will feel motivated to give whatever amount is comfortable for them; every nickel we take in will be donated to the ACS.”
Sturm’s main goals are to raise awareness of the disease and to have the dance be, “a happy and joyful celebration of Professor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s life.”
He encourages people to bring blankets and chairs and just sit and listen to the music as it spreads over the campus. Said Sturm, “you don’t have to be an experienced swing dancer or a jazz nut to enjoy the evening. We hope it will be a joyful way to celebrate the final day of classes.

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