All-island jazz concert showcases young musicians

The South Whidbey High School Jazz Ensemble plays a winter concert at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in January.

Whidbey Island’s young musicians provide an evening of hot swinging jazz from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 8 at South Whidbey High School auditorium on Maxwelton Road in Langley.

The 14th annual Whidbey Jazz Concert will feature all six middle and high school jazz bands and ensembles from Coupeville, Oak Harbor and South Whidbey.

This annual, all-island fundraiser, sponsored by the Whidbey Island Jazz Society since 1990, has generated $75,350 in college scholarships for Whidbey Island high school seniors to continue their musical education.

The March 8 showcase of local jazz talent will feature the music of the Oak Harbor Middle School, under the direction of past scholarship winner Patrick Manuel; Coupeville Middle and High School, under the direction of Jamar Jenkins; Langley Middle School’s jazz band, directed by Jess Monett; Dr. Andy Judd’s North Whidbey Middle School band; Oak Harbor High School, under the direction of Bruce Lantz, now in his 29th year, and South Whidbey’s award-winning jazz band, ably led by Chris Harshman.

General admission tickets are available for $7 at Click Music and Whidbey Party Store in Oak Harbor, Moonraker Books in Langley and the Paint Escape in Freeland.

Last year’s $1,000 scholarship winners included South Whidbey grads Sidney Houser and Nicole Ledgerwood, as well as Ryan Kinker of Oak Harbor High School.

For over 23 years, the Whidbey Island Jazz Society, a dedicated volunteer group led by Ginny and Jerry Jones of Oak Harbor, has played jazz for donations to provide these much appreciated and needed scholarship funds.

The Jazz Society band continues its tradition of performing at Mi Pueblo in Oak Harbor on Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m., entertaining audiences and allowing many high school jazz musicians to sit in. Whidbey Jazz Society also performs for numerous community events and dances.

A DVD recording by Wildcat TV of this year’s jazz concert will be available for $15 with proceeds going to the scholarship fund.

For information, call Jerry Jones at 360-679-2066 or Jim Freeman at 360-331-2617.