MSB Formation

The Portland-based Minidoka Swing Band was formed in September 2007, as a tribute to Japanese Americans interned during World War II and to highlight the music popular in the Internment Camps. Affiliation: the Portland Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
MSB Tune Pak from ReverbNation


We dedicate our band to our founder and creator, Robbie Tsuboi, 1949-2010.  She inspired us to continue being the  Minidoka Swing Band!


PHOTOS by Bruce Brown, RIP 1932-2015, our #1 "MSB Groupie"  and Rich Iwasaki, Location Photographer ... Thank you!


THANK YOU to Dream Host for hosting our non-profit web site!







A Tribute to Japanese-Americans interned during WWII. Remembering the Big Band Swing music and the entertainment it provided to Internees for those Saturday dances!



Support the Minidoka Swing Band as we travel to Japan in November, 2015

Images of the Minidoka Swing Band

In observance of the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the all-volunteer and not-for-profit Minidoka Swing Band will be performing in a concert tour across Japan during November 2015. We will be sharing an important part of Japanese American history through educational narration, pictures and music to interested schools and communities.

Based in Portland, Oregon, the Minidoka SwingBand educates and preserves an important period of Japanese American history by reaching out to groups and organizations interested in what the Japanese Americans endured during WWII.

Please view our English and Japanese versions of what the Minidoka Swing Band will represent by clicking on the followin link:

English version of promotional video

Japanese version of promotional video 

In 1942, President Roosevelt  signed Executive Order No. 9066, and more than 127,000  Americans of Japanese heritage who  lived  on the West Coast of the United  States were  given  one week’s notice to leave  their homes, businesses and possessions. Japanese Americans spent  almost four years behind barbed wire;  armed  guards in towers ensured that prisoners did not escape. The Minidoka Swing Band  shares  this story through the big band  swing  music  that was  popular during the 1940's. This music  was  played inside the concentration camps  by non-professional musicians who lived  inside  the camps,  mostly young teens.  As quoted  by 91-year-old George Tsugawa,a former internee at the Minidoka Concentration Camp,  “Every weekend we  looked forward to the music  and dancing. We loved  to swing  dance  and loved  the music  and loved  the socialization it afforded  us. It gave  us something to look  forward  to and took our minds  off our living  situation. Your band  brings  back  such wonderful memories of a bad place.”

The Minidoka Swing  Band  consists  of 18 musicians and 3 vocalists  who  play  and sing  such big band  tunes  as “Boogie  Woogie Bugle  Boy,” “Sentimental Journey,”  “Moonlight  Serenade,” “American  Patrol,” “Tuxedo  Junction,”  “All of Me,” and many  more.  The Band  has been recognized by TV, magazine and newspaper organizations and articles, including the Wall Street Journal (New York),  an Emmy-nominated story by KING TV5 Evening Program  (Seattle, Washington), the Pacific Citizen Magazine (San  Francisco, California), and many  more local newspapers around  the Portland-Metro area.  Two of the Minidoka Swing  Band’s  musical recordings were  used  in the nationally-broadcasted documentary, “Searchlight Serenade,” produced by KEET TV Public Broadcasting (Eureka,  California).

We would love  to perform  our historical concert  at your  local  event  or venue. The not-for- profit Minidoka Swing  Band  operates solely on grants  and donations and performs  frequently at major cultural  events,  conferences, parks  and schools  throughout America’s  Pacific Northwest.  

If interested in Sponsoring the Minidoka Swing Band for this trip or hosting a concert, please contact:

Please contact our English representative, Laura Baxter, Minidoka Swing Band Manager--1968 SE Bush St. Hilllsboro OR 97123--Phone: 503-640-0120--Email: or for Japanese speaking representative, contact Yasuyo Strassmaier--Phone:  971-300-2162--Email: 

An Intimate Dinner with George Takei

On February 19, 2011 the Minidoka Swing Band was honored to play at the ONE reception for "An Intimate Dinner with George Takei" at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront Hotel. I have included a very nice email I received from George regarding the evening:

"Dear Laura,

I was transported to my boyhood imprisoned in two U.S. internment camps at that memorable evening two weekends ago at the reception for the Oregon Nikkei Endowment. Our barrack was just across the way from the mess hall at both camps. So, one of my cherished memories from those years is that of the music that wafted over on Saturday nights from the mess hall after my mother put us to bed.

The music of the 40’s that I heard from the Minidoka Swing Band sounded so familiar and sweet. That was the music of my boyhood. That was the sound that I loved. And it was brought back to me so marvelously that evening in Portland. My appreciation and gratitude goes to those talented musicians for keeping a dulcet part of a dark experience so melodically alive.

My thanks to you and the talented musicians for the great work that you are doing.

Warm regards,

George Takei"

Minidoka Swing Band

Minidoka Swing Band

Thursday, Aug 29 at 2:08 PM

From: Amy Uyeki ("Searchlight Serenade" artist) 
RE: Saturday night's premier showing of "Seachight Serenade" and dance 
TO: Laura Baxter and Larry Nobori 

Dear Larry and Laura, 

I didn't get a chance on Saturday night to tell you both how wonderfully the band played; you all sounded so tight! All my friends who came really enjoyed it and probably would have gotten out on the dance floor, but there were professionals out there! Really, we just enjoyed watching the dancers and listening to the great music.

You all sounded marvelous and I hope it met your expectations. I was so happy that Oregon Nikkei was able to combine our groups together. Thank you so much for agreeing to play for the event!

Sam took some photos, so I will post them on our website. I am currently in the process of getting ready for an exhibit, so it will take me another week or so, to get them online, but I'll email you when it's up.

Again, thank you so much for the fabulous music. My 91-year-old friend was enthralled and you brought her back to her past in a flash. 

Warmly, Amy

Monday, December 2, 2013

Questions / Comments: (from web site)

Just wanted to say that we went to our first Minidoka Swing Band performance on December 1 in Oregon City. We give the performance an A+!


Thank you,

Mel & Rose Jetter

MSB Musicians

Larry Nobori - Music Director & Conductor; Lead Alto Sax & Clarinet

(Current band members)

Larry Nobori - Lead Alto Saxophone
George Shinbo - Alto Saxophone  & Vocalist
Mike Strassmaier - Tenor Saxophone
Joy Yuzuriha - Tenor Saxophone
Elaine Yuzuriha - Baritone Saxophone
Todd Yuzuriha - Lead Trumpet
Rick Homer - Trumpet
Karl Baxter - Trumpet
Terry Baxter - Trumpet
Eric Olson - Trombone
Irv Petersen - Trombone
Doug Hamilton - Trombone
Michael Powers - BassTrombone
Lonny Doi - Piano/Keyboard
Eric Peterson - Drums
Doug Katagiri - Guitar
Kokichi Tagawa - Bass
Nola Sugai Bogle - Vocalist
Shig Sakamoto - Vocalist
Jo Peterson - Vocalist
Andy Streich - Vocalist 

Robbie Tsuboi - Band Founder and Creator
Marilyn Loy - Co-Founder
Laura Baxter - Band Manager
Yasuyo Kamio Strassmaier - Assistant Manager
Val Katagiri - Assistant
Bruce Brown - Photographer
Swing Dancers: The Unite People Youth Group (JACL Youth Group)

Thank you to our great musician substitutes:
Jim Miller - Alto Sax
Kyle Baxter - Trombone
Gray Rains - Trumpet
Robin Seitz - Trumpet
Justin Smith - Trumpet
Gary Irland - Trumpet
Mark Niemann-Ross - Double Bass
Michael Powers - Trombone
Gary Powers - Trombone
Wynn Kiyama - Piano/Keyboard
Tomatsu Tanabe - Piano/Keyboard
Wendy Lin - Vocalist/Sax

Past Musicians:
David Thompson - Bass
Dan Chinn - Drums
Reggie Anderson - Drums
Dean Qualls - Trombone
Rod Israeli - Bari Sax
Hikaru Okada - Piano/Keyboard
Anna Shida - Clarinet
Ken Yuzuriha - Trombone
Daniel Griffith - Alto Sax
Toyomi Yoshida - Tenor Saxophone/Piano
Eric Hiro Jordon - Tenor Saxophone
Yuki Inoue - Trombone
 Ron Hylland - Trombone, Tenor Sax & Trumpet
Sammy Yoshida - drummer/2nd trumpet
Jay Lyman - Percussion
Rev. David Weekly - 3rd trumpet/ Pastor of Epworth Methodist Church
Michael Loy - Double Bass/Youth founder of MSB

Click Below to listen:

MSB Tune Pak from ReverbNation