MOUNT VERNON — Joyful 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 its danceable swing tunes and high-energy performances, the jazz orchestra will take the stage in 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’re very excited to have concert events back at the park this summer, and to open the season with the Knox Community Jazz Orchestra,” said Carrie Haver, marketing manager for the Mount Vernon Arts Consortium. “KCJO is always a crowd pleaser, with toe-tapping big band favorites that get audience members out of their seats and moving. Band leader Ted Buehrer also does a great job of providing history and interesting facts about each piece being played.”
Buehrer, a music professor at Kenyon College who founded the KCJO in 2017, said, “In this concert we’ll revisit some of the pieces that both the band and our audience have come to love. It’s great to be playing again after the pandemic kept us from performing for almost a year. The band has enjoyed the camaraderie of getting back together and rehearsing. We’re looking forward to sharing that spirit and energy with the community.”
The 20-member ensemble plays an ever-expanding repertoire of big band numbers, from Swing Era classics to pieces from the jazz scene of later years. Dance tunes, show tunes, lilting ballads, Latin rhythms, old favorites and new discoveries, music by America’s greatest big-band composers and arrangers – all come to life in KCJO performances. Since its founding, the band has won an enthusiastic following in performances at local venues and festivals in addition to the park’s summer concert series.
State and local health guidelines designed to control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have brought some changes to the concert series this summer, Haver noted. Inside the Schnormeier Event Center, table seating for eight will be available by free advance 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 welcome, of course, 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 area surrounding the Schnormeier Event Center and, as always, on the lawns and terraces of the park—all in a socially distanced manner, at least for the KCJO event.”
Guests are highly encouraged to view 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 all, with offerings for every musical taste. The KCJO 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 annual children’s concert of the Knox County Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 26; and the Mount Vernon High School Marching Band Jacket Jam on Oct. 26.