DECATUR – The perfect recipe for a late June evening might be pretzel-crusted chicken and smooth trumpet jazz.
Both were on the menu Sunday as the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur hosted its annual “Jazz in June” fundraiser at the Beach House restaurant in Nelson Park.
An audience numbering in the dozens paid $40 a ticket for the opportunity to enjoy the buffet food, which included a roasted pork tenderloin carving station and the sweet sounds of “Four Other Brothers.”
The jazz horn group members all boast an impressive pedigree: Randall Reyman is trumpet professor and director of jazz studies at Millikin University; Andrew Cheetham is trumpet professor at Eastern Illinois University; Todd Kelly is trumpet professor and director of jazz studies at Bradley University; and John Cooper is director of jazz studies at Western Illinois University.
Backed by a rhythm section, they served up a rich mix of Miles Davis, Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong while weaving in some music history lessons to keep it interesting. Reyman said playing for an appreciative jazz audience is preaching to the converted, but he says younger ears can be turned on to the possibilities of jazz.
“As they mature, I think they learn to appreciate it,” said Reyman, 62, who has been playing jazz for half a century. “I think they need to grow into it.”
Helping the musical learning process along is part of the mission of the Orchestra Guild. It not only supports the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, but also sponsors the Decatur Youth Symphony and underwrites the cost of music lessons while providing scholarships for promising young students.
“The Guild invests about $30,000 a year in support of young musicians,” said Shirley Swarthout, Guild president. “The money comes from our Guild memberships and from fundraising and through our sponsors. It's worth becoming a Guild member because you are supporting fine music right here in Decatur.”
Mary Bauer and her husband, Bob, were happy to contribute their financial support and looked forward to delicious food, great music and even a gorgeous view as the sun dipped down towards the lake. “We just thought this would be a fun evening,” Mary Bauer said.