Arts and Entertainment

AHS jazz musicians perform at Easy G Jazz Club

Jazz II will open the show at the AHS Swing into Spring Dessert Dannce that starts at 7 p.m. May 8 and 9. - Courtesy photo
Jazz II will open the show at the AHS Swing into Spring Dessert Dannce that starts at 7 p.m. May 8 and 9.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

It’s not just for fun that the Arlington High School jazz musicians hope the community will come in force to the Swing into Spring Dessert Dance at Easy G Jazz Club on May 8 and 9.

“This is a major fundraiser for the AHS band program,” said Marlene Lewis, the parent of a clarinet player in the AHS wind ensemble.

“My daughter is not in the jazz bands, but I help out to show my support of all the bands. The dessert dance is important because it provides funds for the purchase of instruments, band trips and music scholarships for band students.”

The dessert dance is also fun, she said, for everyone involved, including band director John Grabowski, the musicians and the audience.

The shindig takes a lot of work, however.

Parents and student volunteers create the setting for the “Easy G Jazz Club” which requires weeks of planning and hard work, coordinated by current AHS Band Boosters president Liz Ries. She and her husband Ken commit a tremendous amount of time to the preparations, from folding concert programs to repairing and painting signs and set decorations.

“They are an excellent example of involved, supportive parents doing their best to encourage their son Nathaniel’s passion for music,” Lewis said.

Nathaniel is a sophomore in Jazz II and plays tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet and piano.

Grabowski, too, goes above and beyond the call of duty, as do the jazz students themselves, Lewis said.

On Hold is an audition-only group which meets before school at 7 a.m. every weekday morning through the year. Jazz II is also a volunteer group that meets every Tuesday night from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

“Since Tuesdays result in a 12-hour work day for Grabowski, the parents and Band Boosters try to provide dinner for him,” Lewis said. “From home cooking to frozen dinners, pizza or sandwiches, he says he’ll eat anything and is grateful for the dinners.”

But the parents themselves are the most appreciative of his dedication and influence over their children’s music education, Lewis said.

Named for Grabowski himself, the Easy G Jazz Club features lots of great dance music by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Glenn Miller and more, in the AHS commons, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., south of downtown Arlington, starting at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets are $14 at Flowers By George, 335 N. Olympic Ave., and Arlington Copy, Mail & More, at 540 N. West Ave. For information call 360-618-6300.

“This is an important showcase for the talented jazz musicians at Arlington High School, an evening of great music and a unique opportunity to invite the community into our school,” Lewis said.

The $14 includes music and dancing, desserts and beverages.

As a part of the fundraising effort, a beautiful handmade quilt will be the prize in a raffle during Saturday’s program. Raffle tickets can be purchased from band students and at the door for $1. The winner is not required to be present at the drawing.

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