My Biz: For Cedar Rapids couple, music on the weekends

Musical duo performing together since 1979

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For Chris and Laura Swiser of Cedar Rapids, music is their weekend job.

During the week, Laura works at Grant Wood Area Education Agency coordinating science project kits and Chris sells energy-management systems at Ovation Networks. But the husband-and-wife duo agrees their Friday and Saturday night gigs as Jasmine Band pumps them up, even after a full week of work.

“There’s an energy that you get from the playing that just takes away any of the tiredness from the day jobs that we might have. We love doing it,” Chris said.

“We are involved with businesses through being employees,” Laura added, “but this is our business, and we treat it as a business. If we set up and after our first couple songs somebody comes up and says it’s too loud, we will turn it down. We don’t try to pull off the rock star diva thing.”

They’ve been married for 39 years and performing together since 1979, progressing from playing in bars on weekends to performing sometimes as much as four times during an extended weekend for everything from small private birthday parties to coffee shops as well as many of the area wineries.

And while they have played Thursday through Sunday night gigs in the past, “We try to book for only two nights on the weekends if possible these days,” Chris noted.

Their repertoire includes everything from gentle ballads to rock, blues and a little country.

Chris plays wireless acoustical guitar accompaniment to Laura’s lead vocals. She provides the various hand percussion when needed.

Through the years they have played for everything from funerals to weddings.

“We played for a wedding at the Holiday Inn in Cedar Rapids and two years later we played at the same Holiday Inn for their divorce party,” Chris laughed.

  • Owners: Chris and Laura Swiser
  • Company: Jasmine Band
  • Address: 1733 McRoberts Rd., Cedar Rapids
  • Phone: (319) 360-0741
  • Website: Find Chris Swiser on Facebook

Know a manager or company in business for more than a year that would be ideal for “My Biz”? Contact business editor Michael Chevy Castranova at

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