John Munson, left, Steve Roehm and their New Standards crew went to Anchorage ahead of next week's annual hometown holiday shows. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

John Munson, left, Steve Roehm and their New Standards crew went to Anchorage ahead of next week's annual hometown holiday shows. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

They have plenty of experience dealing with white-out blizzards and ice storms around their holiday concerts back home in Minnesota, but the New Standards experienced a whole new kind of Mother Nature-related wrinkle before their gigs scheduled this weekend in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Minneapolis-based jazz-pop trio was in the middle of the 7.0 earthquake that caused extensive damage in the Anchorage area Friday morning. As news of the quake spread nationally, the band sent word via social media that everyone in their crew was safe and sound. However, when reached by phone midday Friday, bassist/co-vocalist John Munson said their pair of shows there were in danger of being called off.

“Structural engineers are looking at the theater as we speak, and obviously it’s up to them to make the call,” said Munson, whose group was to play Friday and Saturday nights at the Discovery Theatre. He didn’t question the importance of the engineers’ work, though.

 “When you see tall buildings swaying and the ground under your feet feels liquid, you know you’re in something serious,” he said. "It went on for a long time, too, maybe 30 seconds. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced."

He and New Standards co-founder Chan Poling were walking to a coffee shop for breakfast when the quake hit. Several other members of their eight-person crew, however, were still in rooms on the 12th floor of their hotel at the time and “were crawling around to safety on their hands and knees,” Munson said. Luckily, none of them were hurt, "just shaken to the core," he added.

The band members spent Thursday rehearsing with some local Anchorage music stars that are supposed to join them on stage. This was the second year in a row that the New Standards took their holiday show to Anchorage, at the invitation of a local talent booker who caught one of the trio’s regular gigs at Joe’s Pub in New York.

They’ll have their usual turnstile of surprise guest musicians when they return to town – shaken but not scarred -- for their full-scale holiday concerts next weekend at the State Theatre.

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