The Berks-Mont News (

Kutztown M.S. Jazz Band jam with pros

By Lisa Scheid, Kutztown Jazz Band Parent

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Students in the Kutztown Area Middle School jazz band got to jam with professional musicians on Dec. 5 when the Berks Jazz Jam kicked off its new season at Kutztown Area Middle School.
The students impressed the pros with the band’s jazzy renditions of popular songs “House of the Rising Sun” and “Norwegian Wood.”
Then students listened to the Chris Heslop quartet perform a few songs, including “Your Own Sweet Way” by Dave Brubeck, a jazz legend who just passed away. The students were invited on stage to jam with Heslop and Keith Mohler, Tom Witmer, and Dave Lazorcik.
Hosted by Mike Eben, the jam gives musicians an opportunity to play jazz in a live setting, while honing their improvisation skills in a supportive environment. Eben said the group has been offering jams at a music store for a few years but attendance declined. With last week’s jam in Kutztown the group is starting a new approach of bringing the jam to the students.
The jazz jam, which is funded through the Reading Musical Foundation, is scheduled to be at Exeter Middle School in February.