Evening of Jazz

When/ Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, 7 p.m.
Where/ Lake Highlands High School cafeteria,
Tickets/ Advanced pricing: $10 general admission and $12 reserved seating; $15 at the door

To purchase/ Contact Max and Lydia Tucker, 214-343-3143

“’Tain’t what you do (it’s the way that you do it)!” That’s how the trend-setting trombonist and vocalist “Trummy” Young defined the national jazz scene aesthetic in the 1930’s.

A quick glance at Lake Highlands High School’s jazz scene shows how content, style and enormous cooperation all conspire to define a modern jazz aesthetic.

Neighbors Laurie and Paul Haefner volunteer as co-presidents of the Lake Highlands Band Club to support their son, Douglas, a junior who plays bass trombone in the jazz ensemble. As co-presidents, the Haefners are in charge of everything from fundraisers to making sure the students have transportation to gigs and concerts.

“This is one of the most productive activities the teens could do — they learn teambuilding and productive relationship skills as well as developing creatively as artists,” he says.

“There are as many as 75 to 80 other parents involved at any one time because they know how much band benefits their kids, as people as well as musicians. We all want them to succeed.”

Now in its 15th year, this month’s “Evening of Jazz” concert features nationally-known jazz artist Wayne Bergeron “sitting in” on the ensemble.

“The jazz ensemble is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, and largest high school jazz ensembles in the area,” says Cinda Koch, volunteer co-chair of this year’s concert along with her husband, Jim. “The event runs two evenings, and we usually sell out on both.”

 For the concert, the high school cafeteria is transformed into a jazz club setting with mood lighting, round café tables, tableside drinks (of the soft variety only) and a dessert menu. Black and white clad band students wait on the audience while the jazz band, in tuxedo attire, performs a full set of horns, saxophones and trombones, as well as an extensive rhythm section and piano.

“They really get it rocking,” Koch says.  

New to the program this year as the jazz band’s director is Chris Events, a woodwind specialist and professional saxophonist who has performed internationally with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Events describes the Lake Highlands jazz program as the “Shangri-La of high school jazz programs.”

“It’s the parents’ support and the complete buy-in of the other faculty and RISD administration that keeps this program functioning at a level that earns it fame and respect among Texas high school band programs,” he says.