Knox Community Jazz Orchestra opens summer concert series at Ariel-Foundation Park

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MOUNT VERNON – Happy big band music returns to Ariel-Foundation Park this Memorial Day weekend as the Knox Community Jazz Orchestra kicks off the park’s summer concert series. Known for their swinging swing tunes and energetic performances, the jazz orchestra will take the stage at the Schnormeier Event Center on Sunday, May 30 at 6 p.m.

The concert is free and open to the public. Concessions will be available.

“We are very excited to have return concerts at the park this summer and to open the season with the Knox Community Jazz Orchestra,” said Carrie Haver, Director of Marketing for the Mount Vernon Arts Consortium. “KCJO is always a crowd pleaser, with big band favorites kicking their feet and getting audience members moving. Band leader Ted Buehrer also does a great job providing the story and interesting facts about each piece performed.

Buehrer, a music teacher at Kenyon College who founded the KCJO in 2017, said: “In this concert we will be revisiting some of the pieces that the band and our audience have come to love. It’s great to replay after the pandemic kept us from playing for almost a year. The group enjoyed the camaraderie of getting back together and rehearsing. We look forward to sharing this spirit and energy with the community.

The 20-member ensemble performs an ever-growing repertoire of big band acts, from classics of the Swing era to pieces from the jazz scene of the following years. Dance tunes, show tunes, singing ballads, Latin rhythms, old favorites and new discoveries, music from America’s greatest big-band composers and arrangers – it all comes to life in the performances of the KCJO. Since its founding, the group has gained an enthusiastic following through performances at local venues and festivals in addition to the park’s summer concert series.

National and local health guidelines designed to control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have made some changes to the concert series this summer, Haver noted. Inside the Schnormeier Event Center, tables for eight people will be available by free prior reservation for the May 30 event. To reserve a table, visit the park’s website at arielfoundationpark.org or call 740-398-6603.

“People are of course welcome to bring their own chairs,” Haver said, “which they can set up in the limited open space available in the event center, on the patio surrounding the Schnormeier Event Center and, as always, on the lawns and terraces of the park, all in a socially distanced way, at least for the KCJO event.

Customers are strongly encouraged to review seating, COVID-19, and other concert-specific information on the park’s website before attending an event.

The 2021 summer concert series includes eight performances in total, with offerings for all musical tastes. The KCJO’s appearance will be followed by a June 18 concert featuring Popgun, a central Ohio “supergroup” specializing in pop-rock tunes from the 70s and 80s. The series culminates with two local favorites: the Knox County Symphony Orchestra’s annual children’s concert on September 26; and the Mount Vernon High School Marching Band Jacket Jam on October 26.

The Knox Community Jazz Orchestra launches the summer musical series at Ariel-Foundation Park in Mount Vernon on May 30. The orchestra will perform at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Schnormeier Event Center. The concert is free and open to the public. Concessions will be available.

The Knox Community Jazz Orchestra is a 20-member ensemble that plays an ever-growing repertoire of big band acts, from classics of the Swing era to pieces from the jazz scene of the following years.

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Henry R. Wright