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Jazz Festival puts spotlight on youth
new slt jazz2
The Friends University Jazz Ensemble (pictured) from Wichita will appear at the Crest Theater for the 17th annual Great Bend Jazz Festival. Also performing that night will be the Kansas City Youth Jazz Reno Band.



The Great Bend Jazz Festival has received an infusion of youthful talent this year. The Kansas City Youth Jazz Reno Band and the Friends University Jazz Ensemble and Vocal Jazz Ensemble with perform Saturday, April 2, at the Crest Theater.

The evening of jazz music starts at 7:30 p.m. When the doors open at 7 p.m., the public can purchase adult tickets for $10, and student tickets for $5.

Organizers of the annual jazz festival are always looking for musicians with local ties. Former music instructor Joe Boley notes that the KCYJ Reno Band is led by musical director Leon Brady and executive director Linda Richter Brady. "Linda is a Great Bend High School graduate and received her musical training in the public schools of Great Bend, and continued her musical training at Fort Hays State University."Delete - Merge Up

Boley is a member of the Great Bend Kiwanis Club, a sponsor of the 17th annual Jazz Festival.

"This year we’re going to have an incredible lineup with a variety of music," said Robert Feldt, another Kiwanian and Jazz Festival organizer. The KCYJ Reno Band consists of 21 talented young people from Kansas City-area high schools, who receive professional training from area jazz musicians. The band takes its name from the legendary "Reno Club," which was considered the "Queen" of the Kansas City jazz clubs during the mid-1930s era of jazz.

Both groups will perform "standards and new compositions, set in styles ranging from swing to Latin to fusion, rock and beyond," sponsors said.

"We view this as an important youth educational program, encouraging performing and enjoyment" Feldt said. Funds raised by the festival are used to provide scholarships to GBHS musicians interested in pursuing a music education in college.