May 14, 2007

First-ever Delano Jazz Festival set for Saturday

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Festivals are a great way for a community to get together and celebrate its history, as well as raise money for special causes, and Delano has a long history of doing just that.

The Delano/Franklin Area Historical Society and Delano High School Band will be hosting the Delano Jazz Festival Saturday, May 19, at Second Street and Bridge Avenue, between the Delano City Hall and the Heritage Center.

“We are blocking off the street downtown,” organizer Jon Steinmetz said.

The festival will begin at 11 a.m. and continue through 6 p.m., and will consist of jazz competition between local schools and professional jazz bands, along with Heritage Center tours.

“We were looking for something with a little more variety,” Steinmetz said.

The goal of the event is to educate students, as well as the community, in history and music, plus raise money for the historical society and the Delano High School Marching Band, led by Jason Koetz.

“It is a fundraiser for the marching band and the historical society,” Steinmetz said.

In order to make it the best event possible, the historical society is bringing in the International Association of Jazz Education to coordinate the festivities.

“We want to educate as many people as we can with history and music,” Steinmetz said.

The jazz competition will lead off the festivities, with four area schools competiting – Delano, Annandale, Maple Lake, and Watertown-Mayer.

It will be something special – allowing the bands to actually compete against one another, with judges rating the bands, and picking a winner, which is something that is not very common in Minnesota, Steinmetz said.

“It is the only jazz competition that we know of in the state,” he added.

Following the competition, the students will have the opportunity to work with a clinician, who educates musicians about the music and how to improve their playing.

To follow up the competition, professional jazz bands will fill out the festival. The bands that are playing will include the Good News Big Band, Maple Lake Community Band, and Delano-Watertown.

Also throughout the day, the Heritage Center will be open for people to see some of the history of the Delano area. Historical society members will be on hand to give tours and educate people who are interested in the history of Delano.

The Delano Historical Society, which was established in 1999, preserves the area’s rich history, as well as educates the community. The 30-member organization meets the first Monday of every month at the Delano Heritage Center.

Although this is the first year for the event, hopes are high, with attendance expected around 1,000 people.

“A thousand people we are hoping for, if more, even better,” Steinmetz said.

Delano Jazz Festival

The Delano Jazz Festival will be Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Second Street between the Delano City Hall and the Heritage Center.

Tickets are $3 for students, and $5 for adults.

Food and refreshment stands will be on location, serving customers hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, pop, and water.

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