Columbus Jazz Orchestra organizes a benefit concert | News

The Columbus Jazz Orchestra will be hosting a special performance next weekend for one of its own members, Tim Wesely.

The 17-member band has been around for several years and is made up of local musicians from all walks of life. The group has performed locally, including a Music in the Park series in David City last year. It is also performed in Columbus at First United Methodist Church, Maximus and Ag Park and at events such as Columbus Days and Lawnchairs on the Square.

The orchestra’s performance on Sunday April 24 will be special as it will benefit Wesely, who is suffering from medical issues. The concert will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the federated church, 2704 15and St. to Columbus. Admission is free but the group will accept donations of their own free will.

According to Columbus Jazz Orchestra director Keith Byrkit, Wesely has been with the band for about 20 years and is the second trombone.

“He was always a good player with us, he always supported the group,” Byrkit said of Wesely. “And he always worked to make sure we had everything we needed to do it and to make sure we had a good performance.”

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Wesely has been a lifelong musician, Byrkit added, and has been performing in bands since he was a teenager.

Byrkit himself has been playing the piano for over 50 years and has been part of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra for 12 years as a keyboardist. He previously worked in David City Public Schools and served as director of the Butler County Community Choir.

Byrkit said there will be around 18 to 20 songs on the orchestra’s playlist for the April 24 concert. Selections include “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, “Tuxedo Junction”, and “In the Mood”, to name a few.

“With our playlist that night, we’re doing a lot of 1940s music,” Byrkit added. “We are a big band – saxophones, trombones, trumpets, rhythm section. Most of our music is suited to the big band eras of the 1940s and early 50s.”

The orchestra already had this concert on its schedule but the organizers decided to make donations to the Wesely family in light of Wesely’s medical issues.

“…We all have a relationship with him through the band. And we just felt like we had to do something to help Tim,” Byrkit said.

“Anything we take as a direct donation. What anyone wants to give is what we’ll take, and 100% of that will go to the Wesley family. We don’t have a goal in mind as to how many dollars or anything, but we just open it up to free will, whatever anyone wants to give.

Hannah Schrodt is the editor of The Banner-Press. Contact her by email at hannah.schrodt@lee.net.


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Henry R. Wright