BW Jazz Band Fundraiser


Ellie Geppert

On May 6th, the Belleville West music department is holding a Jazz Dinner fundraiser. It will feature performances from all three Belleville West jazz bands with food catered from Beast Craft BBQ. 


Jazz Dinners like this are very similar to how jazz music was performed when it was just starting out, according to band director Mr. Michael Pond-Jones.


 “Jazz dinners are reminiscent of the way jazz was presented when jazz was the popular music,” Pond-Jones said, “So back in the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s… people would go out for dinner and dancing, and that’s mostly what we’re recreating.” 


The funds raised from events like Jazz Dinners go towards new instruments for the music department. Most recently, they’ve added a well-loved percussion instrument to the assortment. 


“The most recent instrument we procured from the boosters was the vibraphone,” said Pond-Jones, “And that vibraphone gets used in jazz bands every day, and is also something we use for marching band, so it gets used every day in multiple ensembles.” 


For the student musicians, dinners provide a more relaxed atmosphere to perform in. 


“Jazz dinners are a way to showcase what we’ve been working on without the stress of a typical concert setting.” according to senior drum set player Luke Geppert.


Preparing for performances requires much more than just daily rehearsals during students’ designated jazz block. There is lots to do the day of an event. This is especially true for members of the rhythm section, which includes drum set, piano, vibraphone, bass and auxiliary percussion. 


“We rehearse everyday during 5th hour, but on the day of the event we spend about 2-4 hours moving all the equipment and setting up the stage, lights and sound system,” Geppert says, “For drummers this takes extra time as we have to move 6 drums, 5 cymbals, all hardware, and any auxiliary instruments we might use.” 


The Jazz Dinner caps off a year of hard work for the Belleville West jazz bands. Nine months of rehearsal lead up to this night, and it’s a successful fundraiser for the music department. Students who wish to purchase a ticket can buy one from students in jazz bands for $25, or they can go directly to Mr. Micheal Pond-Jones or Mr. Scott Wilson in A112.