2023 Fond du Lac Jazz Festival

April 29, 2023 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Fond du Lac Jazz Festival is the culmination of the Jazz Appreciation Month events presented at THELMA in partnership with The Fond du Lac Jazz Festival and Education Foundation, Inc. and the Lighthouse Big Band. The festival, which began in 1983, is among the longest running jazz festivals in the state of Wisconsin. 

This year’s festival presents the music of Fond du Lac native Mario Friedel, from the Stellar Records release “Under the Venus Moon.”  In fact, the entire recording will be performed live by the original artists, internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist and local legend Janet Planet and saxophonist Tom Washatka, accompanied by the Lighthouse Big Band, resident ensemble at THELMA.

Saturday’s Fond du Lac Jazz Festival kicks off at 6:00pm with a performance by the Students’ Jam! group, accompanied by members of the Jazz Orgy. This will  include the new composition by Mario Friedel, who will join the group on guitar and vocal on his tune.

Following a brief break to reset the stage and refresh your beverages, the Lighthouse Big Band will start at 7:00pm with a set of big band favorites that will delight the audience. After another brief intermission for both band and audience to refresh, the band will be joined by the headliners to perform “Under The Venus Moon.”

The music that makes up “Under The Venus Moon” was conceived almost thirty years ago. First meeting as musicians in a band, composer Mario Friedel, vocalist Janet Planet, and arranger Tom Washatka quickly realized their compatibility with the performance of jazz music. Years later, after retiring from his teaching career, Friedel put a recording in motion to create “Under the Venus Moon,” in collaboration with Planet, Washatka, and other artists. It’s printed in the album cover that “A Venus Moon evokes a high level of emotional connection to things of beauty and artistic expression,” – and this is the exact cathartic reaction that derives from the music of Mario Friedel. The whole work consists of seven songs which are both dynamic yet strung together like they were meant to exist as one. This will be a performance to remember!

Following the Jazz Fest performance will be an Afterglow in the Fountain City Jazz and Dance Club, featuring members of the Jazz Orgy and many sitters-in creating more great jazz into the late hours.

Date: Saturday, February 29
7 PM – 10 PM
Bar Opens:
6 PM
Location: Great Hall
General Admission $25 for Non-Members | $20 for Members
High-Top Pub Table (Table for 2) $35 for Non-Members | $28 for Members (Per Person)
Bistro Table (Table for 4) $30 for Non-Members | $24 for Members (Per Person)
Tables can be purchased by calling THELMA at 920.920.5410!

Donations to the THELMA, FDL Jazz Festival, and Lighthouse Big Band Jazz Education Fund are gladly accepted.

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