Edye Evans Hyde, Terry Lower, and Dave Rosin, practicing with the ELHS Jazz Band on April 27, 2016
East Lansing High School’s fifth annual Jazz Night will take place Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the ELHS Performing Arts Center. ELHS’ Jazz Band I, Jazz Band II, and Encore Strings will perform with guest artist Terry Lower on piano, Edye Evans Hyde on vocals, and Larry Ochiltree on drums. The concert is free and open to the public.
“ELHS jazz night began in 2012 and has been a huge success,” David Larzelere, Director of Bands at ELHS, said. “In 2013, the band program received a very generous financial gift from the Draggoo family that ensured this opportunity will continue for many more ELHS students. The Draggoo's gift not only pays our guest artists to perform on our Jazz Night but these artists also come to rehearsals, spend time with our students, and make a lasting impact on our students and audience. We're so fortunate to have this opportunity. We have been able to have Carl Cafagna, a saxophonist, in 2012, Etienne Charles on trumpet in 2013, Dave Bennett (clarinet) in 2014 and last year we had Michael Dease (trombone) as our guest.”
Larzelere said this is the first year that Jazz Night has also included ELHS’ Encore Strings. “Dave Rosin often plays bass with our guest artists, so this year he helped secure the artists and music. Mr. Terry Lower has arranged most of the music that we're performing on Wednesday. This will most likely be a one-time concert with the Encore Strings because of this opportunity to perform with Terry Lower.”
Lower is a jazz pianist and a fixture in the Michigan jazz scene. Lower was voted the 2016 ‘Musician of The Year’ by the West Michigan Jazz Society. Lower said he wanted a variety of music for Wednesday night’s concert. “(I wanted) a few different feels, different styles—a little funk, a little classically-oriented tunes, a little jazz quarter-step tunes in there, so just a little variety.”
Evans Hyde said she is excited to work with ELHS’ musicians. “They sound so good. I hope that they enjoy the merging of these …new arrangements, too.” Evans Hyde has been performing for over 30 years in West Michigan, Los Angeles, Asia, and Europe and has shared the stage with blues singer Linda Hopkins, Michael Bolton, actress Connie Stevens, the late Ray Charles, Cuban trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, Peter Scolari, and Tom Wopat. She has also appeared with The Grand Rapids Symphony.
Larry Ochiltree, who will be on drums, has performed with many national Jazz artists including Mark Murphy, Ira Sullivan, Bobby Watson, Hendrik Meurkins, Phil Woods, Frank Mantooth, and Clare Fischer. He has toured with The Drifters, The Coasters, and Maynard Ferguson. Ochiltree is currently on the faculty at Hillsdale College.
Larzelere said that ELHS has a strong jazz band tradition. “ELHS has produced quite a few musicians that are playing and teaching in the jazz world. Doug Johnson, 1982 - jazz piano at Berklee College of Music, Brad Goode, 1981 - jazz trumpet at the University of Colorado, Diego Rivera, 1995 - Jazz Saxophone at MSU, Matt Hubbard, 1989 - Freelance piano and trombone in Austin, TX, Carl Cafagna, 1992 - Freelance Saxophone in Detroit, Nick Javier, 1993 - Freelance Trombone in Taiwan, just to name a few,” Larzelere said.
Larzelere hopes the community will come out and enjoy the music Wednesday evening. Lower said that his quartet and Evans Hyde would also perform selections from Wednesday evening’s concert (and about ten more songs) with the Rochester Symphony on May 20 at 8:00 p.m.
Note: Alice Dreger contributed reporting to this story.Telaina Eriksen’s son and Alice Dreger's son both participate in various band and orchestra activities at ELHS.