Ten years after he graduated, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon went back to his alma mater, Memorial High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, this weekend. It may not have been a reunion, but we would've voted him best dressed -- Vernon (snazzy white suit and all) joined his former high school jazz band Sunday night for a benefit show to raise money to send the ensemble to a prestigious jazz competition.
The competition is Essential Ellington. Hosted annually by Wynton Marsalis, the band has gone six times in the last ten years, with their very first trip featuring Vernon himself on lead guitar as a senior. Sunday night's performance featured one full set by the jazz band featuring Duke Ellington tunes before Vernon took the stage alongside Bruce Hering, the same band director who'd taught Vernon 10 years prior.
Vernon performed “Lump Sum” (from For Emma, Forever Ago), four standards — Ellington’s “Rocks In My Bed,” Nina Simone’s “Since I Fell For You,” Ella Fitzgerald’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “Miss Otis Regrets” — and another of his own songs, “For Emma,” which you can check out below (and for more video, head here). Following some light applause (read: standing ovations), Vernon wrapped up the night with Frank Sinatra’s “The Lady Is a Tramp” and Mahalia Jackon’s “A Satisfied Mind."