Jazzed for Valentine's Day is Saturday at Bridgeport Conference Center

By Julie Perine on February 07, 2018 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Five hours of dining and dancing are in store for those searching for a quality evening during Valentine’s Day weekend.
 
The Bridgeport High School Band Patrons present the 10th annual Jazzed for Valentine’s Day dinner/dance Saturday, Feb. 10 at Bridgeport Conference Center.
 
"This is our tenth Jazzed for Valentine's and we are hoping that htis year is bigger than ever," said Justina Ogden of the BHS Band Patrons. "These are fantastic musicians. They work hard, they are professional in their appearance and demeanor and when you hear them, you would have a hard time believing they are high school students."
 
For the cost of $50 per person, attendees will be treated to a meal prepared by the conference center culinary staff, live entertainment by the BHS Jazz Band and silent auction browsing. 
 
"We have a secera of fantastic silent auction items that have been donated by local businesses, including jewelry, restaurant gift cards, WVU wreaths, lamps, art, WV Fruit and Berry items, snow tubing, an overnight stay at Stonewall, tour of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and more," Ogden said.
 
Doors open at 6 p.m. with silent auction bidding, heavy appetizers and pre-dinner music featuring a trio of BHS strings artists. Dinner will follow at 7:30 p.m. On the menu is chicken marsala, roasted red potatoes, roasted cauliflower, broccoli and carrots with turtle cheesecake for dessert. 
 
In formal holiday attire, the BHS Jazz Band will deliver love ballads and up-tempo dance tunes. Attendees can dance up a storm or just relax to the live music, which according to Band Director Chris Hayslette, will feature a variety of classic jazz and show standards made famous by Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and others.
 
“In the 1930s, jazz reached new levels of sophistication in the Swing Era, reflecting America’s need for self-esteem following the Great Depression,” he said. “By the 1940s, dance halls were widespread, with live musicians playing a variety of big band, swing and jazz music. It is our goal to recreate this type of atmosphere for the patrons of our event.”
 
The evening will also include a 50/50 drawing and various prize drawings.
 
Special dietary needs can be accommodated by making a request for an alternate menu when purchasing tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Almost Heaven Desserts on Main Street, Bridgeport Family Pharmacy at Charles Pointe or by calling 304-203-1522.
 
Jazzed for Valentine’s Day is an annual fundraiser for the BHS Band and raises around $5,000 which is used toward the band’s annual $80,000 budget. Proceeds help pay for travel, instrument, competition and uniform costs. The band students maintain a busy school year performance schedule, appearances which encompass school, community and corporate events throughout North Central West Virginia.
 
“The (BHS) Jazz Band ismore than just a performing ensemble: It is one of the best opportunities to introduce our students to the great traditions of jazz,” Hayslette said. “They are being exposed to the art of improvisation and learning to perform a variety of musical styles. Even more importantly, we are creating the next generation of jazz messengers, and possibly the next group of great jazz artists.”
 
Specializing in not only traditional standards, but also a variety of Latin tunes, ballads and jazz-rock selections, the BHS Jazz Band members maintain a busy performance schedule, delivering 15-20 performances each school year.
 
“The band performs extensively throughout North Central West Virginia at a variety of school, community and corporate functions,” Hayslette said.
 
The ensemble has been the featured Honor Band at the Marshall University Jazz Festival 11 times since 2004 and has consistently earned “Superior” ratings at the WV Northern Regional Jazz Festival. The band was chosen as the Honor Jazz Ensemble for West Virginia in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016. 
 
Editor's Note: Pictured top/cover is the 2017-18 BHS Jazz Band playing at the December meeting/Christmas dinner of the GFWC Woman's Club of Bridgeport. 



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