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Jazz Fest in swing

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Jim Lentini and Andres Salas

Elko High School alumnus Jim Lentini, who has performed in 28 Jazz Fest concerts, rehearses alongside current EHS jazz band trumpet player Andres Salas on May 13. The annual Emil Matys Jazz Fest concert is set for May 14 at the Elko Convention Center. 

ELKO — An evening of foot-tapping music is set for Tuesday night with the Elko High School jazz band’s annual Emil Matys Jazz Fest.

“There will be some special things in store,” said band director Michael Broyles. “There will be a lot of fresh things.”

The concert, featuring saxophonist Karen Green and EHS alumni Layton Cunningham, Sara Dyer, Jim Lentini, Brandon Stone and others, starts at 7:30 p.m. May 14 at the Elko Convention Center. Tickets cost $10 and are sold at the door and by members of the jazz band.

Making beautiful music

The 2019 Emil Matys Jazz Fest band at rehearsals May 13. 

Other touring professionals, teachers and hobbyists will also be sitting in, including former EHS band director Walt Lovell and retired band teachers Bob Colbert and John Gist.

This year other genres of music will be featured, Broyles said.

“The music we’re playing is familiar for all ages,” Broyles explained. “Not just traditional big band songs, but a lot of Disney songs. We’ve got Beatles songs, we’ve got ‘Stairway to Heaven.’”

“No matter what your taste is in music, there’s going to be something you like,” he said.

A mentoring program that concludes with a rousing concert, Jazz Fest brings together experienced musicians and Elko High School jazz students.

Karen Greene

Jeff Brown, Grammy-award winning saxophonist Karen Green, EHS jazz student Daniel Ash, Tahoe Stephenson and Bob Colbert listen to instructions from EHS band director Michael Broyles during the May 13 rehearsals for the 2019 Emil Matys Jazz Fest. 

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This year, students will participate in a jazz clinic Tuesday morning several hours ahead of the concert that will include Jazz Fest fixture and Grammy-award winning saxophonist Karen Green.

Longtime participant Eric Marienthal is returning from a tour of Japan and is unable to appear this year. However, several fresh faces are joining the lineup, including University of Nevada Reno graduate Jeff Brown and Greg Barker, who has played the saxophone for about 40 years.

“I was honored to be invited by Walt and Michael,” Barker said.

Ward Durrett and Gavin Vore

Ward Durrett, left, keeps time alongside EHS jazz student Gavin Vore. 

The mentoring aspect has always been the core of Jazz Fest, and gives students the opportunity to gain fresh insights into performing. Broyles said he enjoys seeing the mix of ages who play at Jazz Fest combining their talents for two days.

“It’s such a cool thing to have all different experience levels from one year to 50-plus years,” he said.

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Courts, K-12 schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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