Different generations of jazz performers to share the stage of White Concert Hall

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In the band room of Seaman Middle School, Ryan Simpson, left, leads a rehearsal of the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band, which will headline a concert a free concert at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in White Concert Hall where a middle school jazz band and high school ensemble also will perform.
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By Bill Blankenship
TopekaOnStage.com

Multiple generations of Topeka-area jazz musicians will share a stage when Topeka Jazz Workshop Inc. and Topeka Jazz Workshop Band Inc. wrap up this season’s Topeka Youth Jazz Band program with performances by two student ensembles and the adult big band.

The concert from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in White Concert Hall on the campus of Washburn University will feature a middle school band, an ensemble of high school players and a show-closing set by the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band. Admission is free to the concert.

The two youth ensembles have rehearsed weekly for months in preparation of the season finale.

Bill Blankenship/TopekaOnStage.com
Ryan Simpson, director of bands at Seaman Middle School, conducts a rehearsal of the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band, which along with its two youth jazz bands, will perform a free concert from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in White Concert Hall on the campus of Washburn University.
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Chris Reynolds, a Topeka Public School music teacher who directs the bands at State Street Elemenatary School, Chase Middle School and Highland Park High School and serves with the Lawrence-based 312th U.S. Army Band, oversees the middle school ensemble which includes 20 pupils from three public schools, a parochial school or are home-schooled.

During their set, they will perform “Feel the Beat, Pete!” a rock tune by Andy Clark; Paul Murtha’s arrangement of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ neo-swing tune “Zoot Suit Riot”; the Dixieland jazz tune “Basin Street Blues” arranged by Paul Jennings; and another rock song by Clark, “Dr. Rockenstein’s Laboratory.”

Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies, well-known saxophonist and veteran of the Air Force Heart of America Band, coaches the 18 members of the high school band drawn from three Shawnee Country public schools.

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The rhythm section of the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band includes, from left, drummer Kelly White, who teches Spanish for Jackson Heights USD 335; pianist Stuart O’Neil, an Oskaloosa USD 341 music teacher; bassist Forrest Evans, a Washburn University student; and percussionist Tommy Stewart, a retired Veterans Affairs aide.
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Their set list includes “Moanin'” by Charles Mingus; “One More Time, Chuck Corea,” a Jay Puerling Latin song arranged by Jay Bocook; and the John Coltrane jazz standard “Impressions” arranged by Mark Taylor.

Wrapping up the program will be the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band. Founded in 1961, it is the oldest, continually operated, community-based big band jazz orchestra in the nation.

Trumpet player Ryan Simpson, director of bands at Seaman Middle School, leads the band, several members of which also are current or retired music educators or current collegiate players.

The Topeka Jazz Workshop Band has in recent years kicked off the Topeka Jazz Workshop Inc.’s annual concert series, as well as performed concerts in Gage Park as part of its free summer concert shows.

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In addition to being director of bands for Silver Lake High School, Andy Rhodes also plays baritone saxophone in the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band, which will headline a free concert at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in White Concert Hall where the band’s middle school and high school youth bands also will play. Admission is free.
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Selections planned for Saturday’s show include “Easy to Love,” a Cole Porter song arranged by David Sharp; Sharp’s arrangement of the Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney; band member Darren Jenkins’ song “Caught in the Blue Eye of the Potato”; and Larry Neeck’s “Uptown Stomp,” which kicks off with a drum sequence in the style of Gene Krupa.

In addition to the music, the program will include presentations by the Topeka Jazz Workshop Inc. of $500 scholarships to middle and high school students to attend summer jazz camps. Graduating high school students later will be awarded college scholarships.

Bill Blankenship/TopekaOnStage.com
Despite his Led Zeppelin T-shirt, Sawyer Brown, a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 2, plays guitar for the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band, which along with its middle school and high school youth bands, will perform at free concert from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in White Concert Hall on the campus of Washburn University.
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Here are the rosters of the three ensembles:

Middle school band

  • Clarinet: Maddison Easley, Christ the King.
  • Drums: nate Routsong, Jardine.
  • Piano: Walter Evans, Robinson; and Carter Johnston, Jardine.
  • Saxophone: Ryleigh Atkinson-McLaury, tenor, Jardine; Malachi Berg, saxophone, Jardine; Owen Deines, tenor, Robinson; Makayla Geil, baritone, Jardine; Ethan Petit, alto, Robinson; and Sophie Wagemaker, alto, Robinson.
  • Trombone: Ethan Haller, home-schooled; Cole McClendon, Jardine; and Haley Wedeking, Robinson.
  • Trumpet: Heath Allen, home-schooled; Adisyn Caryl, Jardine; Chloe Easley, Christ the King; Dequan Kent, Robinson; Cameron Meseke, Jardine; Emma Simpson, Seaman; and Tyson Smith, Jardine.

High school band

  • Saxophone section: Grace Hawkins, first alto, Washburn Rural; Tyrese Mendez, second alto, Topeka High; Sam Rissen, first tenor, Seaman; Cameron Calvin, second tenor, Washburn Rural; and Nick Brady, baritone, Seaman.
  • Trumpet section: Dalton Imoff-Brey, lead, Topeka High; Courtney Wohletz, second, Seaman; Derek Quinn, third, Seaman; and Sydnee Bradley, fourth, Topeka High.
  • Trombone section: Jordy Rowe, first, Seaman; Bryce Teaford, second, Seaman; Kotis Atkinson and Aradia Snyder, third, both Topeka High; and Curtis Malsom, fourth, Washburn Rural.
  • Rhythm section: Phoebe Stottlemire, piano, Seaman; Katie Rogg, bass, Washburn Rural; Anthony Dake, drums, Washburn Rural; and Paul Fredrickson, guitar, Washburn Rural.

Topeka Jazz Workshop Band

  • Saxophones: Tom Hunt, assistant director of bands, Lawrence High School; Jerry Boster, retired music teacher, Topeka Public Schools; Darren Jenkins, music teacher, Olathe USD 233; Steve Funk, director, information technology, Kansas Board of Regents; and Andy Rhodes, director of bands, Silver Lake Schools.
  • Trumpets: Perry Hartmann, collection development specialist, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library; Jasper Shrake, Washburn University student; Travis Mott, music teacher, Bishop Elementary School; and Don McDaniel, retired band director, Holton High School.
  • Trombones: Tim Owen, CPA, controller for the Chapter 13 Trustee office for Topeka; Chris Reynolds, director of bands, Highland Park High School; Paul Kirkwood, Washburn University students; and Greg Scheetz, Washburn University student.
  • Rhythm: Stuart O’Neil, piano, music teacher, Oskaloosa USD 341; Sawyer Treinen, gutar, Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 2; Forrest Evans, bass, Washburn University student; Tommy Stewart, percussion, retired Veterans Affairs aide; and Kelly White, drums, Spanish teacher, Jackson Heights USD 335.

 

 

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