Jazz in the park

29th Annual Big Band Reunion concert to be held Sept. 4

By Ciara Conley - [email protected]

Music-lovers and jazz aficionados get ready because the Southern Ohio Jazz Society’s 29th Annual Big Band Reunion Concert will be held Sunday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. in Tracy Park.

Professional musicians from all over the region gather every year under the direction of Gary Billups to offer a free evening of jazz hits.

“We’re not an official band, we don’t play together all the time. In fact, we don’t even have a practice,” said Billups. Billups serves as the director for the event, and plays lead tenor saxophone. He’s been involved with the Southern Ohio Jazz Society since it’s fruition. “Everyone involved can read music and they’re all very talented.”

This year, 18 musicians will be participating, coming from all over the region to take part – some coming as far as Columbus and Cincinnati.

And while some may think jazz is ‘out of style’ this event proves that’s not always the case. The event has continued to see a steady following, with approximately 400-500 in attendance each year.

“We’ve had some big crowds, I remember one year the park was packed all the way back to Chillicothe Street,” said Billups.

Billups said he’s not surprise that the event continues to be a success, hearkening back to the talent of the members.

“We’ve got some of the best musicians in this region, it helps to keep music alive, more specifically big band music alive,” said Billups. “These people are not just musicians, they’re people that can read music, they can improvise and they can play any style. Shoot, we could do a country show or a hard rock concert. They give back to the community as well. Some of them are band directors, and music professors. We also have a lot of young people who’ve dedicated their lives to music, and decided to pursue it as a career and study it in college.”

There is no admission cost, and if it should rain, the event will be moved from Tracy Park, to American Legion Post #471, located on Gallia Street.

If you or someone you know may be interested in joining the Southern Ohio Jazz Society, you can contact Billups via email, [email protected]

29th Annual Big Band Reunion concert to be held Sept. 4

By Ciara Conley

[email protected]

Reach Ciara Conley at [email protected]

Reach Ciara Conley at [email protected]