This year's Festival will offer something for everyone. There are many returning act such as The Northwest Iowa Musicians, Chad Elliott and Bonita Crowe, Ross William Perry, Kelsey Klingensmith and the Buffalo Ridge Band, and Jim Oatts Family Jazz.
New to the festival this year are The Mearl Lake Orchestra, Sherrie Cafaro Trio, Blues Drivin', and The Candymakers.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Cherokee Jazz and Blues festival is the popular Student Music Clinic for invited area schools. This Clinic is the main educational component of the annual Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival. Casey Kingdon, Band Director of Cherokee Middle School, is managing the Clinic, which will be conducted by Jim Oatts and colleagues from the Des Moines area.
Schools that are participating at this year's festival are, Cherokee Washington High School under the direction of Allan Yeager, South O'Brien High School Jazz Band directed by Tom Cronin, MOC-Floyd Valley High School Jazz Band directed by Kevin Linder, Ridge View High School Jazz Band directed by Joseph Vanatta, Cherokee Middle School Jazz Band directed by Casey Kingdon.
There is not adequate seating for the public to attend and observe
the Music Clinic, but the band directors and music students will have ample opportunity to interact with instructors during the clinic.
There will be one more addition to this week festival, on Friday, Cherokee singer/songwriter and guitarist Charlie Leissler will be joining Kelsey Klingensmith and The Buffalo Ridge Band.
Leissler taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 12 while growing up in West Caldwell, New Jersey. He started writing songs in his late teens. He met Doug Hines (Rancher) at Morningside College in Sioux City, and they played in and around Sioux City during the 1970's and early 1980's. Charlie says if it had not been for The Gathering Place in Cherokee he would probably still be playing by himself at home. The Gathering Place was where Charlie got together with Randy Martin, Jimmy Davis, Steve Alingh, Jim Christensen and Jamie Bowers to do their popular Crosby Stills Nash Tribute project. Since then, Charlie has continued on with other collaborations. In the Fall of 2011 he released his first CD titled "Over the Dam."
It was a collection of songs he had written in the past and finally put together with the help of Dr. David Klee. Charlie began to write new music, with inspiration from friends and family, and released his second CD titled "January Journey" in November 2012.
Schedule of events for the 2013 Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival are as follows:
The popular Student Music Clinic for invited area schools conducted by Jim Oatts will be held at the Cherokee Middle School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Northwest Iowa Musicians will appear at The Copper Cup from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Kelsey Klingensmith and The Buffalo Ridge Band will be performing at The Gathering Place from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Chad Elliott and Bonita Crowe will be at The Gasthaus from 9 p.m. to midnight.
The Ross William Perry Band will be at the Cherokee Bowl from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Jim Oatts Family Jazz will be at the Cherokee VFW Club from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Saturday, Jan. 19
The Candymakers will be hosting the Saturday Jam Session at The Gathering Place from noon to 4 p.m.
The Big Band Dance with The Mearl Lake Orchestra will play from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center.
Blues Drivin' will be at the Cherokee Bowl from 9 p.m. to midnight.
The Sherri Cafaro Trio will be at The Gathering Place from 9 p.m. to midnight.
The Candymakers will be at the Cherokee VFW Club from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Ticket prices for the 13th Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival are as follows:
Friday night Pub Crawl - $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
Saturday Jam Session is $10 for non-musicians. Students and kids are free. There is no advance sale of tickets for this event.
The Saturday night Big Band Dance at WITCC - $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
Saturday night Pub Crawl - $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
Saturday night combo ticket (Dance and Pub Crawl) - $20 in advance and $30 at the door.
New this year is the Hotel Package, a one-night stay at the Best Western LaGrande Hacienda and two Pub Crawl tickets are $100 (offer good for both Friday and Saturday Night), call 225-5701 for reservations.
Advance ticket prices end at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
Tickets for all events are available at The Copper Cup, The Cherokee Bowl, and the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on the Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival go to www.cherokeejazzbluesfestival.com.