Jazz it up

Four local groups to play at 3rd annual ‘Jazz at the Egyptian’

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DeKALB – Audience members can jump, jive and wail this weekend while supporting local music programs.

Musical groups including the Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra and the DeKalb and Sycamore high school jazz ensembles will perform during the third annual “Jazz at the Egyptian” event at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. in DeKalb.

Jazz in Progress, a local nonprofit music education advocacy group, will open the show for the second year in a row. Aaron Butler, president of the group, said audience members can expect a program of big band tunes from the 1920s and ’30s all the way through the ’80s.

“And they’re going to get to see a lot of really talented kids play,” Butler said.

Jeanine Holcomb, marketing and communications director for the Egyptian Theatre, said proceeds from the show will go back to the music programs at NIU, DeKalb High School and Sycamore High School. She said the three entities received $500 apiece after last year’s event.

Whether it is the freshman just starting out in one of the high school bands or the high school senior making their way into NIU’s jazz program, “you are seeing your dollar impact that student,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb said the event was the brainchild of Alex Nerad, the Egyptian’s executive director, who wanted it eventually to become a jazz festival. She said the main purpose of the event is for the public to see local up-and-coming jazz musicians and bring the “communiversity” together.

“We’re really happy to bring that all together and hopefully inspire those [high school] groups to really show what you can do at the college level and beyond,” Holcomb said.

Butler said events such as this one are important to show the community what these groups are doing, and it gives Jazz in Progress members the opportunity to perform as well. He said it also gives gifted musicians in the groups another chance to perform for a live audience.

“Be prepared to enjoy a very entertaining evening of great jazz,” he said.

Tickets cost $15 each for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for children younger than 12. Tickets can be purchased online at egyptiantheatre.org or at the theater's box office between 3 and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, or at the door an hour before the event.

Holcomb said she doesn’t have exact numbers available offhand, but she said it looked like ticket sales already were up from last year.

“The hope for this program is that it does continue to grow and we have the ability to keep supporting these local bands,” Holcomb said.