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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

'One Woman Band' to perform at Good Time Place

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First dance coming up July 30

The Cherokee Senior group has made arrangements with a one-of-a-kind performer to provide the music for a series of dances to be held at the Good Time Place, on the lower level of the Cherokee Community Center.

Shirley Brandt's primary instrument is her multi-functional keyboard.
Shirley Brandt from Ashton is the modern-day equivalent of the proverbial "One Man Band."

In an article in the Nov. 22, 2008 edition of the Worthington (Minn) Daily Globe, Shirley, who is originally from the Worthington area, said, "I've had a five-piece group, but it's hard to depend on musicians to always show up. They'll call the day of the event and say they can't make it,and then you have to scramble to find someone else. It dropped to four, three, two of us, and I finally decided to just play alone; then I can play what I want when I want."

Shirley played trumpet in the school band, but she also has the ability to play by ear, which has served her well over the years. She plays the keyboards primarily these days. and appreciates the versatility of the instrument, which can sound like many other instruments. She appreciates the lighter equipment these days, as she used to haul around a 300-pound Hammond organ, mounted on a rolling platform, which used a battery-operated winch to load it into her trailer for travel to her gigs. These days she travels with two or three keyboards, two 70-pound speakers, microphones, stands, foot pedals, and her other instruments, which include a pocket trumpet and the recently-added violin. She said she makes her audiences "suffer" when she adds vocals to her music.

Shirley Brandt playing a "pocket" trumpet
"I sing, but I'm not a singer," she clarified. "The keyboard has a vocalizer, a harmonizer on it, so I can set it to sound like three people, like the Andrews Sisters. If one of the three of us makes a mistake, they won't know which one it is."

Though she is also a licensed instrument-rated pilot, Shirley drives her four-wheel-drive van, loaded to the brim with her equipment, to her gigs. It takes about an hour to pack everything up, although she says "it comes apart a lot faster than it goes together."

Shirley likes the Big Band sound, but she will play just about anything her audience wants to hear - old-time polkas and waltzes, schottisches, mixers, country-western, rock 'n' roll, Latin, or Dixieland jazz. She enjoys every minute of it.

Shirley Brandt's latest addition to her one woman band is the violin (fiddle).
"I like watching people have a good time," she said. "People need a place to go and have fun."

"Shirley's Big Band Sound," as she bills herself. will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure at The Good Time Place from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, and will return at the same time and place on Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 8 and Oct. 22.

So put your dancing shoes on!

(Editor's note: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe, contributed to this story. Photos by Brian Korthals of the Daily Globe.)

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