Bemidji State’s MIDiots land gig at The Dakota

Bemidji State University’s faculty electronic music ensemble, the MIDiots, has landed a gig at one of the Midwest’s premier jazz clubs. On Feb. 15, the group will follow Kansas City blues artist Kelley Hunt at The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis.

The MIDiots will play two 45-minute sets featuring jazz standards and original pieces written by members of the group, with a selection of rock covers. Hunt’s performance begins at 8 p.m., and the MIDiots’ late-night show will begin at 11:30 p.m.

The MIDiots include BSU faculty members Dr. Del Lyren, professor of music; Dr. Erika Svanoe, assistant professor of music and Bemidji State’s director of bands; adjunct faculty members Greg Gaston and Eric Sundeen; and Lee Foster.

“This is pretty exciting for us,” Lyren said of the group’s first out-of-town booking in a commercial venue. “The Dakota is the premier jazz club in Minnesota, and if you draw a line from Chicago to Denver, if you look north of that line it’s probably the premier club in the whole area. This is a pretty big deal.”

The booking came from conversations Lyren had with operators of The Dakota during the 2010 International Trumpet Conference, which he helped organize in Minneapolis. The Dakota hosted a number of late-night jam sessions during the conference, which allowed Lyren to develop relationships with the staff.

“Greg [Gaston] and I talk a lot about possibilities for the group, and one of his ‘bucket list’ items was to play at The Dakota,” Lyren said. “So I sent them a note on a whim and said we had an interest in performing there. They showed some interest and I was persistent, and we got the gig. It worked out well for us.”

Lyren hopes the group’s pairing with Hunt will lead to an enthusiastic audience for the MIDiots show.

“She’s a big name, so hopefully we’ll have a big crowd sticking around to hear us,” Lyren said.

The Feb. 15 show at The Dakota will follow a Valentine’s Day show at the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association’s Midwinter Clinic in Minneapolis.

For more information on the MIDiots, become a fan on Facebook or contact the Bemidji State University Department of Music, (218) 755-2915, or visit

• The MIDiots on Facebook:
• The Dakota:
• Kelley Hunt event page: