No small ‘feet’: FM Kicks Band has performances for everyone

FM Kicks Band performs with guest vocalist Monroe Wright III in April 2022 at First Lutheran Church in Fargo. Executive Director and Music Director Tim Johnson stands in the background. Submitted photo/FM Kicks Band

Jazz up that weeknight routine and cut a rug with FM Kicks Band in November, February and March.


WATCH: FM Kicks Big Band Dance Samples

“You’ll hear music that you know and some that you don’t, but you’ll like all of it,” said Tim Johnson, FM Kicks Band executive director and music director. “The best thing is no talent or dance style is required to attend.”

Johnson said participants don’t have to dance, or even know how to dance, to be a part of the event. Part of the event’s intent is to create exposure for jazz arts in the Fargo-Moorhead and West Fargo communities. 

“I think the whole thing about this event and others we put on is to build support for the jazz arts, because it’s authentic to America. It started here,” he said. “When you look back, in the 1940s, there were once 1,500 or more big bands and people made their living doing this. We want to keep the art alive.”

FM Kicks Band members are semi-professional musicians who consider their participation “second jobs,” Johnson said, one that fulfills their love of jazz arts and creates a broader respect for American musical traditions such as funk and rock, too.

“The biggest thing we want to do is break the barriers that jazz is boring old elevator music,” he said. “We try to play something for everyone, like a Quincy Jones version of a country song is something we’d do, for sure.”


Upcoming Events

Big Band Dance with FM Kicks Band Nov. 22, Feb. 28 and March 28 MSUM's Comstock Memorial Ballroom Tickets: Free for all ages; free-will donations accepted The free events are open to all, during which the local 17-piece music group will perform big band for dancers and spectators looking to jazz up a brisk November evening. Fall Concert Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. First Lutheran Church Featuring classic and contemporary big band charts of Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, George Gershwin and Count Basie. Tickets: Adults $20; College ID $10; 18 years and under free
“The Originals” Recording Release Concert Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. TAK Music Venue Featuring big band arrangements of area FM performers celebration of our recent recording session.
Tickets: Adults $10; 18 and under free

More about FM Kicks Band

Founded in 1975, Kicks Band of Fargo Moorhead is a 17-piece band hosts many events yearound, including jazz history concerts and an annual Jazz Fest every August. 

The group also supports music education efforts by hosting artist residencies at local schools to provide students with one-on-one training sessions and jazz history lessons, an homage to Kicks founder Ed Christianson, longtime band director at Fargo North High School. 

In addition to live, public performances, FM Kicks Band also books private parties such as weddings, anniversaries, school reunions and memorial celebrations. Contact Tim Johnson for more info.

The big band concert series and several other events hosted by FM Kicks Band are funded in part by The Arts Partnership and funding provided by the Lake Region Arts Council through a Minnesota State Legislative appropriation.

About the author

Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and owner of, a content marketing and communications agency located in Fargo, North Dakota. She is a frequent contributor to The Arts Partnership’s content library and also provides strategic communications consultation to the organization.




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Tania Blanich is the Arts Partnership’s Director of Operations


Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership