The opportunity of a lifetme awaits the Cherokee Washington High Jazz Band that will open for the Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival's Main Concert Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center.
Concert headliner is the Mark Pender Band, accompanied by LaBamba of Tonight Show fame, and international guitarist nonpareil, Glenn Alexander, among others.
WHS Band Director Paul McEntaffer and his students have been hard at it practicing for the special event, but will be without the services of seven Jazz Band performers - four of them participating in the State Debate Tournament, and three more unable to attend because they'll be playing in the NWIBA High School Honor Band in Sioux City.
The State Debate team members include Jacob Lewis, Bailey Stoneking, Maggie Lubeck, and John Bieber. The NWIBA members are Abby Hayes, Rachel Corken, and Liz Ross.
However, the rest of the Jazz Band is ready to roll, including Shelby Bingham, Mariah Clyde, Mitch Fick, Amanda Kellen, Andrew Lafleur, David Lafleur, Dan Rodgers, Jacob Spindler, Nicole Springer, Paige Stieneke, Alex Struck, and Colton Trent.
McEntaffer has recruited some skilled musicians to fill any voids, including former WHS Jazz Band members Allison Elliott and Shannon Schroeder and former Aurelia Jazz Band member Brian Janssen.
Rounding out the sections, McEntaffer will perform on the trombone, along with trumpeter Kevin Linder and sax player Mike Guntren, two acclaimed and talented Sioux City musicians.
The WHS Jazz Band takes the stage at 7 p.m. to play some of its favorite jazz and blues arrangements to get the toes tapping and to put the PEP into the crowd in preparation for the lights-out headliner Mark Pender, LaBamba, Alexander, and the rest of the band, who we know will be impressed by the talents of the WHS Jazz Band.