My Life As A Musical

Ted Unseth_Lady & Sissy_1973

"My Life As A Musical"

Click on the Link below for the complete
03/18/19 updated Video:

My Life As A Musical_031819_MPG

Undefeated 1965-1966

"Happiness is positive cash flow"




Ted Unseth: Conscientious Objector: 1969
Won my case, performed alternate service with Urban Arts 1970-1973

Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra

Jabbo Smith Special Guest of WCJO





A federal agency advised by the National Council on the Arts

September 27, 1984

Washington D.C. 20506


Mr. Theodore P. Unseth

1423 Washington Avenue S. #1

Minneapolis, MN 55454


Dear Ted,

Just a note to add my personal congratulations to you regarding your grant from the NEA.


The Jazz Advisory Panel, which made the recommendation for funding, was composed of some of the most experienced, talented, and astute musicians in America today. They were excited and pleased to be able to recommend your project for funding.


The Panel felt that the value of your project in maintaining and preserving the rich musical heritage of our indigenous American music, Jazz, and exposing that music to a wider audience was of utmost importance. Not just in terms of the contribution to the Jazz literature, but also to the communities in which the musicians live and perform.


It is tantamount to a national disgrace when one perceives the lack of knowledge and exposure to the musical talents and creations of America's own artists, and the extent to which their work has been documented as compared to our European counterparts.


Your project is in keeping with the spirit and charter by which this agency was created, and we are very pleased to be able to recognize your efforts in this area. I hope this grant serves as a guide to other funding sources as to the importance of your work.



Jeff Anthony

Program Specialist Music Program


Cab Calloway, Special Guest

Ted Unseth & Benny Waters; ACJO 20th Anniversary Concerts

World Premiere "Concertino for Chamber Orchestra"









            Some 40 years later, I decide, out of the blue, to send President Carter and Rosalynn a current CD and a letter.  His reply:



            Only a few days later, they were to attend our current president’s inaugural.  President Carter is still a very busy man; and yet he takes time to sit down at a typewriter (not a computer) to say Thank You, after 40 years! 





For the ultimate configuration, visit the link below for Americana Jazz Classical Orchestra (AJCO):

Americana Jazz Classical Orchestra (AJCO)


Ted Unseth and the Classic Jazz Orchestra project timeline:



01. Ted Unseth, Teacher/Music Director, Urban Arts Program; Mpls.,

MN: 1970-1973.  High school students working with artists in the artists' environments.  Several students formed the nucleus of the first Classic Jazz Orchestra.

02. Original Early Band: 1973-1980.  Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra

          (WCJO). Ted Unseth, Sole Owner/Founder 
03. Partnership Band: 1980-1984. Still named WCJO
04. Septet Band: 1982-1988. Americana Classic Jazz Ensemble (ACJE;

aka De Stijlistics). 
05. 20th Anniversary Band: 1993.  Renamed: Americana Classic Jazz

Orchestra (ACJO)
06. Rehearsal Band: ACJO: 2008.

07. Pro Bono Band: ACJO: 2010.
08. Jazz-related Classical Band: ACJO (special events)



09. Classical Orchestra: Americana Jazz Classical Orchestra.  2012-

present (AJCO)

10. 2018 and on: Ted Unseth, Teacher (adjunct or affiliate)

at college or university.



Ted Unseth Music Director Engagements: 1973-2013



Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra (WCJO) 1973-1979

[ Ted Unseth, Owner/Director; David Rodgers, full-time Manager ]



July 21 The Firehouse (now Mixed Blood Theater); Minneapolis

The Electric Fetus grand opening sometime in August; Minneapolis

September 22  Riverside Café; Minneapolis

Valley Pizza in Dinkytown for U of MN Homecoming; Minneapolis



February 24 The Cedar Theater; Minneapolis

March 12  MPR Studios; St. Paul

April 7 Prairie Home Companion at the Walker Art Center; Minneapolis

May 18 Firehouse Theater benefit for the Palace Theater; Minneapolis

May 24-25 The Whole Coffeehouse; U of MN; Minneapolis

May 31 College of Art and Design Dance; Minneapolis

June 1 The Firehouse (Mixed Blood Theater); Minneapolis

July 22 Walker Art Center; Minneapolis

August 4 Marquette Inn; Minneapolis

August 18 Opening act for Sarah Vaughan at Guthrie Theater; Minneapolis

August 29 First album recorded for a week at Sweet Jane Ltd.; Northern MN

October 31 College of Art and Design; Minneapolis

Winter 74-75 Re-record vocal tracks at Augsburg College band bldg.; Minneapolis



January 10  Gibbon Ballroom; Gibbon, MN

January 17-18  Whole Coffeehouse; U of MN; Minneapolis

January 24  U. of St. Thomas; St. Paul

January 27,Whole Coffeehouse; U of MN; Minneapolis

February 14-15  Cabooze; Minneapolis

February 23  Waconia Ballroom; Waconia, MN

March 7  St. Mary’s College; Winona, MN

March 8  Northwestern College of Chiropractic; St. Paul

April 6  O’Shaughnessy Theater; St. Paul

April 11  NEC showcase (unsure)

April 12  Gustavus Adolphus; St. Peter, MN

April 19  Luther College; Decorah, Iowa

April 25  Hotel Sofitel; Bloomington, MN

April 26   Hamline College; St. Paul

May 2  Carlton College; Northfield, MN

May 3  College of Art and Design; Minneapolis

May 7  St. Cloud State University; St. Cloud, MN

May 8  Moorhead State University; Moorhead, MN


May 16  Metro Jr. College; Bloomington, MN

May 17  Private party; Minneapolis

May 24  Shattuck Military Academy; Faribault, MN

June 13  Firehouse (Mixed Blood Theater); Minneapolis

June 20  West Bank School of Music; Minneapolis

June 22 Spring Hill Conference Center; Wayzata, MN

July 3 American National Bank; St. Paul

July 4  Performed on a barge on Mississippi River; Minneapolis-St. Paul during the day,  Cabooze that night plus the 5th, and 6th

July 13 Steady engagement at the Longhorn Bar every Sunday night; Minneapolis

July 14  Gramma's; Duluth, MN

July 15 Northrop Plaza; U of MN; Minneapolis

July 18  Ridgedale Shopping Center; Minnetonka, MN

August 9 Lake Harriet Band Shell; Minneapolis

August 10 Anoka County Fair; Anoka, MN

August 1l-12  Amalgamated Restaurant; St. Louis Park, MN

August 20  Ratso's; Chicago, IL

August 22  Elgin, IL

September 6  Milwaukee, WI

September 22  thru

October 1 Three weeks of six nights/week at the Ramada Inn; Golden Valley, MN

October 16  Minnesota Educators Association convention

October 25  Osh Kosh, WI

October 26  Marquette University; Milwaukee, WI

October 29  Minneapolis Art Institute; Minneapolis

November 8  University of Minnesota; Morris, MN

December 7  "Sound of Music" party (unsure)

December 27-30  Telemark; Cable, WI

December 31 Cabooze; Minneapolis



January 11  Longhorn Saloon; Minneapolis

January 16-17  Whole Coffeehouse; Minneapolis

January 19  Showcase for MN county fairs (unsure)

January 25  Jazz Emporium; Mendota Heights, MN

January 29  St. Cloud State University; St. Cloud, MN

January 31 Kenosha, WI (unsure)

February 6  Bemidji, MN (unsure)

February 21  Hamline College; St. Paul, MN

February 28  Minneapolis Art Institute; Minneapolis

February 29  Eau Claire, WI (unsure)

March l2-14  Longhorn Saloon; Minneapolis

March 18  Macalester College; Minneapolis-St. Paul

March 26  University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND

March 28  Longhorn Saloon; Minneapolis


April 3  River Serpent; Minneapolis

May 1  St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul

May 2  Eden Prairie Shopping Center; Eden Prairie, MN

May 6-8  Every Thur., Fri., Sat. (several weeks); Commodore Hotel; St. Paul, MN

            Special Guest: Trumpet legend Cladys 'Jabbo' Smith

May 9  Emporium of Jazz; Mendota Heights, MN

May 13  Mankato State College; Mankato, MN

May 15  College of Art and Design; Minneapolis

May 30  River Serpent; Minneapolis

June 20  Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Minneapolis

June 17  Scotties on Seventh; Minneapolis. Started as playing Wed.-Sat. 9pm-lam;

but later in the summer an itinerary shows only Thurs.-Sat. This continues

until the end of the year when it went down to 1 night.

June 20  Minneapolis Institute of Art; Minneapolis

June 26  Wedding; Wayzata, MN

June 28-July 4  Ratso’s; Chicago, IL

July 9, Government Center for Heritage of the Arts festival; Minneapolis

July 10-ll  North Shore jobs for Maw Brothers; Duluth, MN

July 16  Lake Harriet Band Shell; Minneapolis

July 22  University of  Wisconsin; Superior, WI

July 25  Amalgamated Restaurant; St. Louis Park, MN

July 26  Northrop Plaza; U of MN; Minneapolis

August 6  The Gatehouse Speakeasy; Eagan, MN

August 15  Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Anoka, MN

September l-6  Minnesota State Fair; St. Paul, MN

September 10  Southdale Shopping Center; Edina, MN

 September 12  Butler Square Atrium; Minneapolis

September 18  The Bicentennial Ball at Southdale; Edina, MN

September 24  Orchestra Hall; Minneapolis

September 25  Luther College; Decorah, IA

September 26 University of Minnesota Welcome Week; Minneapolis

October 3  Eden Prairie Center; Eden Prairie, MN

October 5  Culver, IN

October 6  Carthage College; Lacrosse, WI

October 8  University of Nebraska; Lincoln, NE

October 9  Grinnell College; Grinnell, IA

October 16  Coe College; Cedar Rapids, IA

October 24  O’Shaughnessy Auditorium; St. Paul, MN

December 1  University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND



January 20  Jimmy Carter Inaugural Ball; Washington DC

January 21-22  Downington Inn; Downington, PA

January 23 The Riverboat; Empire State Building; New York, NY

February 18  Radisson Hotel; Roseville, MN


February 20  Hooligans; Minneapolis

February 24  Gustavus Adolphus College; St. Peter, MN

February 26  Hamline College; St. Paul

March 11-12  Trade Show (unsure)

March 17  Commodore Hotel; St. Paul

March 19  KQRS-FM Broadcast at Sound 80; Minneapolis

March 20  Hooligans; Minneapolis

March 31  Radisson Hotel; St. Paul

April 2  Scotties on Seventh; Minneapolis

April 3  South Dakota State; Brookings, SD

April 15  Simpson College; Indianola, IA

April 23  Stout State College; Menomonee, WI

June and July: Fridays and Saturdays, Commodore Hotel; St. Paul

Castle Royale steady job begins; St. Paul

June 29  Northrop Auditorium; U of MN; Minneapolis

July 2-4  Valley Fair; Shakopee, MN

August 12: Meadow Brook Music Festival near Detroit, MI

with Lionel Hampton and Marian McPartland

August 24-September 4 Minnesota State Fair; St. Paul

Fall ’77: Tour to Chicago, St. Louis, Georgia, and South Carolina.

October 22  "Wylde Rice"; KTCA-TV; St. Paul



April ’78: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; New Orleans, LA

September 25  The Sahara Hotel; Las Vegas, NV

September 26  NWC Theater; Ridgecrest, CA

September 27-28  Variety Arts Center Theater; Los Angeles. CA

September 29  Whittier College at noon and the Queen Mary at night; Los Angeles,


Fall ’78:  NECAA Convention; New Orleans, LA

October 7  Orchestra Hall; Minneapolis

December 22-23  St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul

December 31 NYE at St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul



January 5  Governor Quie’s Inaugural Ball at the St. Paul Civic Center; St. Paul

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Hotel St. Paul in January; St. Paul

August 15  Uncle Sam’s; Minneapolis

October 17  Prom Ballroom: final show w/ Rio Nido; St. Paul

November 12  St. Paul Hotel; St. Paul (Gunther Schuler was there)




1979: David Louis Rodgers as Manager/Agent believed in us and worked hard on our behalf.  He was severely injured in a car crash in 1979 and couldn't continue as

our business agent.  He was the most effective marketing representative I've ever

worked with and  is the main reason we had such great success in the '70's.



1980-1984: Ted entered into 3-way Partnership with former drummer and his parents.  Still named WCJO.  The first two years were quite good, but repertoire clashes ended with Ted being leveraged out of the organization, losing name and logo recognition.  Incomplete records for this period, but highlights include:


July 1980  Chicago Jazz Festival; Chicago, IL

            Special Guest: Trumpet legend Adolphus 'Doc' Cheatham

September 1980  Prom Center; St. Paul

June 1981  KTCA-TV; St. Paul

June 1981  Northrop Mall; U of MN; Minneapolis

August 1981  Meadowbrook Music Festival; Detroit, MI

            with Marian McPartland and Lionel Hampton

August/September 1981  Minnesota State Fair (daily concerts); St. Paul

September 1981  McGuire's Supper Club; St. Paul

March 1982  First Avenue: Minneapolis

            Special Guest: Shirley Witherspoon

June 1982  First Avenue: Minneapolis

October 1982  Town Square Park; St. Paul

October 1982  O'Shaughnessy Auditorium; St. Paul

            with Manhattan Transfer

November 1982  KTCA-TV; St. Paul

July 1983  Summer Arts Festival; Brookings, SD


Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO)

The WCJO reputation and name were well established by the 1980's.  After

 losing the highly marketable name, Ted had to rename his project (same

 philosophy and repertoire: note-for-note transcriptions of classic

Americana/American Jazz Orchestra recordings performed live! and in

 concert) to Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO).  Without name

 recognition and no manager, gigs dwindled to next-to-nothing.  1980's




April 17, 1987  "The Wrecking Ball"; Prom Ballroom; St. Paul

            Special Guest: Cab Calloway

Summer 1988  Northrop Mall; U of MN; Minneapolis

            Special Guest: Local Alto Sax legend Eddie Berger





Sandwiched in-between, Ted formed what he called his "concession to the recession"--a Septet version, DE STIJLISTICS.  Highlights:



First Avenue/Seventh Street Entry; Minneapolis

Dudley Riggs; Minneapolis

Alfredo's; Minneapolis

Sheik's; Minneapolis

St. Anthony Main; Minneapolis

1984  KTCA-TV; St. Paul

1986  Walker Art Center; Minneapolis

            With Special Guests: Leigh Kamman, MPR Jazz Host; and John Hammond,


1987  Seventh Street Entry; (First Avenue); Minneapolis

1987  Rose Fete: Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Minneapolis

1987  Twin Cities Jazz Festival; St. Paul

1988  Hennepin Center for the Arts; Minneapolis

            Special Guest: Butch Thompson, Stride Piano


Americana Classic Jazz Orchestra (ACJO) continued


October 1993  Bandana Square; St. Paul

            Special Guest, Alto Sax legend 91-year-old Benny Waters



August 2010  Pro Bono concert; Minnehaha Falls Park Bandshell; Minneapolis

July 2013  Pro Bono Family Concert Tribute to Ted Unseth; Lake Harriet

Bandshell; Minneapolis


Additional Ted Unseth Music Director Engagements:

1969  Composer: La Mama ETC/The University of MN Company

“Comings and Goings”; Minneapolis

1970-1973  Music Workshop Director: Urban Arts Program; Mpls. Public

Schools: Minneapolis

1976   Music Director: WCJO LP #1

1978  Composer: "Quintets 1 & 2"; West Bank School of Music; Minneapolis

1978   Music Director: WCJO "Play That Ting" LP #2

1980  Music Director: "Falling Moons"; Children's Theatre Company;

Mpls., MN; Minneapolis

1983  Music Director/Arranger/Conductor/Alto Sax: "Holiday Inn"; Mixed

Blood Theatre; Mpls., MN; Minneapolis

1983   Music Director: DE STIJLISTICS  EP

1986  Music Director/Arranger/Sax/Clarinet: AmEx/IDS National

Convention; Minneapolis

1988  Music Director/Arranger/Sax/Clarinet: Aetna Life and Casualty


Regional Conventions; Nationwide

1989  Music Director/Arranger/Sax/Clarinet: "La Revue Negre: A Tribute

to Josephine Baker"; Ruby's Cabaret; Mpls., MN; Minneapolis

1990-1992  Transcriber: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra; Washington,


1992  Transcriber: "Rebirth of the Cool"; Gerry Mulligan; Washington, DC

2006  Composer-Singer/Songwriter "I'm Goin' Home" CD; Minneapolis

2010  Music Director: "ACJO 20th Anniversary" CD; Minneapolis

2013   Composer: World Premiere: ”Concertino for Chamber Orchestra”’

Minnesota Sinfonia; St. Mary’s Basilica; Minneapolis