MHS Band fundraiser showcases jazz talents, adds teaching element

For Jazz lovers, the Clayton Center for the Arts was the place to be on Feb. 26.

Students from Maryville and Sevier County high schools and the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra had the audience dancing in their seats. Then, when the wrap-up performance by the members of the University of Tennessee Faculty Jazz Players came to the stage, the evening was a total success.

Adding an extra spin to the evening was the fact that the concert was the culmination of a day of learning for the students.

Maryville High School Band director Tom DeLozier said members of jazz bands from Maryville, Alcoa and Sevier County high schools spent the afternoon working in 45-minute sessions with jazz professors from the UT Music Department.

“It is the first time we’ve had this event. We thought it went really well,” he said. “For the afternoon event, we had three high school jazz bands that came into the high school and performed. During their performances, we had Rusty Holloway and Vance Thompson, UT Jazz Department faculty, who worked with the kids and spent time with them.”

DeLozier said Holloway and Thompson gave the students advice and taught them some things. “Each of those high school groups got 45 minutes of time to work with these clinicians and that was a real treat,” he said.

Afterward there was a Master class led by Greg Tardy. “He’s the UT jazz saxophonist, and he worked with kids. A Master class means he did demonstrations and gave them a history of jazz. It was mainly about John William Coltrane, the saxophonist and musician,” DeLozier said. “That evening, everybody went over to the Clayton Center and we kicked off the concert at 7:30 p.m.”

The Maryville High School Jazz Band played, as did the Sevier County High School Jazz Band, and then the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra played. “Those are all high school students and then the UT Faculty Jazz Players performed and finished out the show,” DeLozier said.

DeLozier said all the ticket sales benefited the Maryville High School Band. “We’re in the process of raising money to buy instruments.”

The director said the students and parents who organized the event weren’t sure how much to expect they could raise since this was the first time they held the event. “We were going to try to make as much as we could,” he said. “I don’t know what the dollar figures are, but I estimate we probably had 350 to 400 people. That’s not bad for a first time out. We really hope to fill the place when we do it again next year.”

DeLozier said there were generous donations from Ruby Tuesday and Rush’s Music Store. “We numerous ads that were purchased for the program and the Silver Spoon Express donated a percentage of proceeds from the food they sold that night,” DeLozier said.

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