Today we welcome Michigan State University’s Austin Kaufmann of the The Dangling Participles, a trio of English language instructors from MSU’s English Language Center to the blog with their Arts & Culture Collaboration: The Dangling Participles as part of the 26th Annual Arts Weekend presented by Michigan State University College of Arts & Letters.


“So what is a dangling participle anyway?”

The Dangling Participles

Fans of the band simply answer, “A member of a jazzy indie-folk band out of Lansing.” If pressed, they resort to “Ask Austin. He’s the English teacher.” Originally, The Dangling Participles were a trio of English language instructors from MSU’s English Language Center who, in 2015, decided to take their basement jam sessions public. The lineup has evolved since then, and Austin Kaufmann is the only founding member—and the only English teacher—still in the band. The current roster has remained constant since 2017, and this tight quartet has played more than a hundred shows throughout Michigan. 

The band’s soulful vocals—shared by Tamiko Rothhorn and Austin Kaufmann—give the group its signature sound, rich in harmonies. Instrumentally, Austin anchors the group on guitar and harmonica, with Tamiko, a 1995 graduate of the MSU College of Arts and Letters German program, adding cornet and ukulele. Tim Patterson, who earned his MA in composition from MSU’s College of Music in 2013, fills out the low register on his upright bass and adds backing vocals. Dan Moreno rounds out the rhythm section on percussion. 

“The Dang Ps”—as their fans affectionately refer to them—pair their love of songwriting and arranging  with a spirited on-stage presence. They boast a diverse repertoire of beloved cover tunes, ranging from folk and rock to jazz and blues, but their equally eclectic originals—poignant, playful, character-driven, wry, literary, or intensely personal—are what have won them a devoted fan base. The Dangling Participles released their first full-length album, Present, in 2018. Local Spins website album reviewer Ricky Olmos writes: “The Dangling Participles’ Present evokes sonic images of crowded back-alley speakeasies, smoky blues bars and exotic, faraway lands. At its heart, Present is a genre-spanning body of work, with an inclination toward acoustic-inspired songs.”

Founding member Austin Kaufmann

The band is honored to join the 2020 MSU Arts Weekend program, and all four participles look forward to participating in the weekend’s events along with their families. Still wondering what a dangling participle is? Don’t hesitate to catch up with the band after their Saturday evening performance and track down Austin. He’s the English teacher.

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Booking: Austin Kaufmann   (517) 512-4539

We look forward to seeing you at the 26th Annual Arts Weekend

presented by the Michigan State University College of Arts & Letters.


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