Fundraiser will feature jazz dance and dinner | ParkRecord.com
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Fundraiser will feature jazz dance and dinner

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

This is not just a fundraiser dance to Kay Moffett. The Big Band Sweetheart Dance on Feb. 9 has a much deeper meaning to her on several levels. Moffett, wants to create an elegant evening reminiscent of the past featuring a master jazz band. She envisions the older guests guiding the younger guests into the richness of another era, and most of all she wants to make this a special night of thanks to her late father for bringing big band jazz into her life. And she wants to offer this storybook night at a welcoming price for the people of Park City.

Moffett is a series of contradictions personified an outgoing Spanish teacher, known as Senora Moffett who is of Japanese descent, married to an Australian, a restaurant owner, international guide for students, mother and fundraiser, who is quietly respectful of her generational heritage.

Moffett’s father spread big band jazz in Japan’s post-war movement, a time when Gen. Douglas MacArthur was helping the devastated country rebuild. "Everyone was ready for a good time, Moffett said. "Big band was the tool to bring back life to post-war Japan." Her father, gave up a potential career in medicine and became a musician, to help support his family. "Both of my kids are musically talented, but the musical talent skipped me," Moffett said.

The annual Big Band Sweetheart Dance is the only fundraiser hosted by Park City High School’s music department. The idea of the big band dance came to Moffett when she first heard the PCHS Jazz ensemble play. "I knew right away they were not your typical jazz band," Moffett said. "You can close your eyes and imagine being in a concert hall they’re that good." Early in the school year, Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., made a special trip to Park City to hear the award-winning band. He intended to sit in and jam with them, but after hearing them play, felt he had nothing to add to their artistry, and wanted to appreciate what he was seeing.

In addition to the jazz ensemble, this year’s dance will feature the vocals of PCHS student, Margaret Vallejo, who will swing with the ensemble.

While she misses the direction of musical director Chris Taylor, who’s on sabbatical, Moffett seems in awe of temporary director and big-band leader David Halliday, a jazz musician who has several recordings under his baton.

Moffett’s vision came from her heart. She wanted generations to experience together the music of Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. "My culture demands formality, and respecting elders," Moffett said. Grandparents, their children and grandchildren are close not only in proximity, but also spiritually in her culture. "When generations don’t interact, we miss out on an enormous amount of resources," she said.

"Kids are very interested in an older generation that can dance," Moffett said, and she sees young Americans no longer having a chance to experience elegance and etiquette. "Even school proms aren’t proper or classy anymore, said Moffett. " I love to see the young watching an older gentleman offering his hand to a lady for a dance."

The event has sold out for the first two years since its inception, drawing more than 250 guests of all ages. Moffett stressed the importance of making the elegant evening affordable to the young and old. She and her husband know how to entertain, as owners of the Good Karma restaurant in Prospector Square.

Moffett laments that family members move all over the country, and lose the sense of family. She loves Park City because of its sense of community, which she compares to an extended family. And to her extended family, she offers this special evening.

The Big Band Sweetheart dance takes place Feb. 9, from 7-11 p.m. at the Yarrow Hotel. Reserved seating tickets for the PCHS music department fundraiser are $40, $30 for seniors, and $450 for a dance-floor table for 10, and $400 for other tables of 10. The tax-deductible tickets include dinner and dancing. Tickets are available at the Eccles Center box office, cash or check only. Black tie is invited. Door prizes will be given For more information, call Kay at 513-0489


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