Jazz Orchestra ConcertSunday, May 28, 2017
Schnormeier Event Center
7 p.m.

 

 

A new community band building on a decades-old musical tradition in Knox County will make its debut during Memorial Day Weekend.

The Knox Community Jazz Orchestra will perform on Sunday, May 28, at 7:00 p.m. at the Schnormeier Event Center at Ariel-Foundation Park in Mount Vernon. Under the direction of Ted Buehrer of Kenyon College, the 20-member big band will play danceable music from a wide-ranging repertoire including tunes made famous by Count Basie, Sammy Nestico, Nat King Cole, and Thad Jones.

Joining the jazz orchestra as a soloist for its debut performance will be trombonist Vaughn Wiester, the prominent Columbus-based band leader and arranger who got his start in Mount Vernon.

"This is toe-tapping, timeless music," said Buehrer, who started the jazz orchestra late last year. "What I love about big-band jazz is the blend of a large-ensemble sound with moments of spontaneity and improvisation provided by soloists. There’s nothing like the great jazz harmonies of a horn section playing charts by gifted arrangers."

With exciting new performing venues emerging in Mount Vernon, including not only Ariel-Foundation Park but also the soon-to-be-completed Woodward Opera House, Buehrer felt that the time was right to resurrect the area’s big-band tradition. That tradition includes the Colonial City Big Band of the 1980s and early ’90s and, earlier, the Bob Bechtel Big Band and the Riley Norris Band.

Like those bands, the new group is very much of and for the community. The musicians include active and retired public school band directors, professionals, and recent college graduates from the area. Buehrer, who plays trumpet in addition to leading the band, teaches music at Kenyon and directs the college’s jazz ensemble. Startup funds for the jazz orchestra were provided through a grant from the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County.

"The group began rehearsing in late winter and jelled very quickly," said Buehrer. "From the very first, I was struck by how well they captured the style and essence of these arrangements. They're very familiar with the music. On top of that, we have some talented, experienced improvisers. All in all, it makes for a very enjoyable experience."

Buehrer added, "I hope that people will bring their dancing shoes on May 28. We'll be featuring both swing and Latin numbers. This is also a wonderful chance to hear Vaughn Wiester, a truly distinguished musician."

Raised in Mount Vernon, Wiester played trombone and arranged for the Riley Norris Band while he was still a high school student. His music career has included a stint with the Woody Herman Orchestra, posts with many other bands, a teaching position in the jazz program at Capital University, and the founding of his own Famous Jazz Orchestra. Wiester’s Columbus-based group gives an annual concert in Mount Vernon to raise money for the Vaughn Wiester Music Scholarship, awarded to a graduating high school senior in Knox County who intends to continue studying music in college.

While the May 28 concert will be the new jazz orchestra’s official debut, some local audiences have already heard the group perform. The band and Wiester will have played at Mount Vernon Middle School on April 28 at the 60th annual Tops & Pops fundraiser-concert benefitting music programs in the middle school and high school. In addition, the group performed in Ariel-Foundation Park last year with the Lima Interscolar Big Band, a youth ensemble from Lima, Peru.

 

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A new community band building on a decades-old musical tradition in Knox County will make its debut during Memorial Day Weekend.

            The Knox Community Jazz Orchestra will perform on Sunday, May 28, at 7:00 p.m. at the Schnormeier Event Center at Ariel-Foundation Park in Mount Vernon. Under the direction of Ted Buehrer of Kenyon College, the 20-member big band will play danceable music from a wide-ranging repertoire including tunes made famous by Count Basie, Sammy Nestico, Nat King Cole, and Thad Jones.

            Joining the jazz orchestra as a soloist for its debut performance will be trombonist Vaughn Wiester, the prominent Columbus-based band leader and arranger who got his start in Mount Vernon.

            “This is toe-tapping, timeless music,” said Buehrer, who started the jazz orchestra late last year. “What I love about big-band jazz is the blend of a large-ensemble sound with moments of spontaneity and improvisation provided by soloists. There’s nothing like the great jazz harmonies of a horn section playing charts by gifted arrangers.”

            With exciting new performing venues emerging in Mount Vernon, including not only Ariel-Foundation Park but also the soon-to-be-completed Woodward Opera House, Buehrer felt that the time was right to resurrect the area’s big-band tradition. That tradition includes the Colonial City Big Band of the 1980s and early ’90s and, earlier, the Bob Bechtel Big Band and the Riley Norris Band.

            Like those bands, the new group is very much of and for the community. The musicians include active and retired public school band directors, professionals, and recent college graduates from the area. Buehrer, who plays trumpet in addition to leading the band, teaches music at Kenyon and directs the college’s jazz ensemble. Startup funds for the jazz orchestra were provided through a grant from the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County.

            “The group began rehearsing in late winter and jelled very quickly,” said Buehrer. “From the very first, I was struck by how well they captured the style and essence of these arrangements. They’re very familiar with the music. On top of that, we have some talented, experienced improvisers. All in all, it makes for a very enjoyable experience.”

            Buehrer added, “I hope that people will bring their dancing shoes on May 28. We’ll be featuring both swing and Latin numbers. This is also a wonderful chance to hear Vaughn Wiester, a truly distinguished musician.”

            Raised in Mount Vernon, Wiester played trombone and arranged for the Riley Norris Band while he was still a high school student. His music career has included a stint with the Woody Herman Orchestra, posts with many other bands, a teaching position in the jazz program at Capital University, and the founding of his own Famous Jazz Orchestra. Wiester’s Columbus-based group gives an annual concert in Mount Vernon to raise money for the Vaughn Wiester Music Scholarship, awarded to a graduating high school senior in Knox County who intends to continue studying music in college.

            While the May 28 concert will be the new jazz orchestra’s official debut, some local audiences have already heard the group perform. The band and Wiester played at Mount Vernon Middle School on April 28 at the 60th annual Tops & Pops fundraiser-concert benefitting music programs in the middle school and high school. In addition, on May 2 the group performed in Ariel-Foundation Park with the Lima Interscolar Big Band, a youth ensemble from Lima, Peru.

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Park Info

 

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 Ariel-Foundation Park, located in Mount Vernon, Ohio, is a 250-acre civic park that offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages.

Visiting Hours

Ariel-Foundation Park is officially open April 1 through November 15. Some areas of the park are accessible to pedestrians year-round. Daily hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are no admissions or parking fees. The Rastin Observation Tower, park museum, picnic pavillions, trails and other park features are free and open to the public. The Rastin Observation Tower is closed during winter months.

 
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