North Dakota men return as professional musicians

Submitted Photo Micah Holmen, who plays three woodwind instruments, said he’s a saxophonist at heart.

The Magic City Jazz Festival is being held in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on Minot State University campus tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for ages 7-12 and children 6 and under are free.

The Jim Hill Middle School jazz band will be playing “Take the ‘A’ Train. Erik Ramstad jazz band will play “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” Central Campus jazz band will perform “Rule the Roost,” and the Magic City jazz band will play “La Suerte De Los Tontos.”

Two guest artists will make appearances, too. Tyler Schwan will perform “Brooklyn” on his trombone with the Swing Band of Minot. Micah Holmen is going to play “Feedback” on his saxophone with the Swing Band of Minot.

Several other jazz bands from other schools, such as Glenburn High School, Surrey Junior High and MLS High School, will be playing in the festival, as well.

Tyler Schwan graduated from Surrey High School in 2009, received a music education degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., and now performs with Cruise Line Carnival. He mostly plays his trombone, but said he also does some backup vocals and occasionally sings as lead vocalist.

Before auditioning for the cruise gig, he participated in the Jazz Band Festival for six years, starting while he was in high school. According to a press release, “(…) his parents helped him nurture his love for music from a young age.” Schwan’s teacher, Joe Alme, helped him gain a place in All-State Jazz Band once and the All-State Concert Band twice, sitting first chair his senior year.

Micah Holmen graduated from Minot High School, going to Minot State University for a music education degree. After graduation, he followed his dream to be a professional musician by moving to Nashville. He has played with several famous artists, like Brian May from Queen and Frank Sinatra Jr. His family lives here, so he comes up to visit a couple times a year and plays in his church.

Holmen said that he was largely exposed to the jazz festival in middle school. Pat Schwan was his teacher and he also had a close friendship with Tyler Schwan. The community also played a part in Holmen choosing music as his career. “Minot has always had incredible backing for music, and the more I was exposed to it, the more I came to appreciate it,” Holmen mentioned. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and played baseball in college, all while living with one foot in the music world too. “You don’t need to pick one thing over the other. Be well rounded and have different experiences.”