With custom lighting, a wide dance floor, and two bands ready to provide their sultry tones, the Commons at Winchester Community High School was transformed from cafeteria to a worthy venue for the 7th Annual Music of the Big Band Dinner Dance on Saturday April 7, 2018. The event showcased the talents of the WCHS Jazz Ensemble and included special guest “Second Time Around” Big Band.

    The twenty-one-member Jazz Ensemble is the smallest band group at WCHS. The concert band has around 60 members while nearly 90 students are members of “The Force” marching band.  With fewer instrumental parts and limited seats, each member of the Jazz Ensemble is hand-picked by Director Jeremiah Boes. This is a talented group of students, some of whom even learn new instruments specifically for Jazz Ensemble, who are bringing back to life great jazz, swing, and blues songs of days gone by. This annual dinner dance showcases these talented youths and gives the community a chance to dance the night away or to simply sit back and enjoy the more than 30 songs performed over the course of the evening.

    One of the soloists in the Jazz Ensemble is Kyle Ullom, a senior who plays the alto saxophone in the Jazz Band. Ullom displayed his prowess on the sax in solos for “In the Mood,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “Down for Double.” He plays the baritone saxophone in the concert band at WCHS and won in the essay contest and subsequent selection process to become the Drum Major for the WCHS “The Force” Marching Band. He intends to go to Ball State to pursue a degree in Speech Pathology with a minor in exercise science in hopes of one day being able to help kids with speech difficulties and to rehabilitate people who have suffered strokes.

    Jaylei Osting, also a senior, is a trumpet and flugelhorn player in the Jazz Ensemble and revealed her chops with solos in “Jump, Jive, and Wail,” “In the Mood,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing,” to name just a few. In addition to her involvement with the WCHS band program, Osting teaches dance to 4-7-year olds at her family’s studio, Dixie’s Dance Studio. She is also very involved in art and plans to continue indulging in that passion at Ball State. She intends to pursue a degree in Studio Art with a minor in business while she continues teaching dance. She hopes to one day take over the family studio.

    A sophomore member of the Jazz Ensemble, Gabe Lacy, plays the alto saxophone in both the concert and marching bands. As a freshman, he took the initiative to ask Director Boes if he could join the Jazz Ensemble and became one of the alto saxophone players last year. This year, he took up the tenor saxophone for the Jazz ensemble and worked diligently for a month to perfect his technique. He is a soloist in “Little Brown Jug,” Tuxedo Junction,” and “Sentimental Journey,” along with several other tunes. He also plans to attend Ball State to major in Jazz Studies to become a jazz professor.

    Dillon Moreland, a junior bass trombonist, also learned a new instrument for the Jazz Ensemble, playing euphonium in the concert band and baritone in the marching band. He credits his love of music to his cousin Matt Moreland who used to serenade Dillon on his drum set. He introduced Dillon to jazz and set the stage for Dillon’s future plans. He will be attending Ball State and earning a degree in Music Education, after which he hopes to become a band director.

    Director Boes, who has been involved in the band program at WCHS since 2011, has been the band director since Doug Fletcher took a position at Purdue two years ago. The band program at WCHS has a high reputation and is a great source of pride to the Winchester community. Director Boes’ dedication to his students and the band program leave little doubt that WCHS’s bands and musical accomplishments will continue under his leadership.

    The proceeds of the night will go to support the Band-Aides band boosters organization. The time and effort put into arranging the evening of dinner and dancing have proven well-worth it. The event was very attended by the community and raised more than $1000 for the Band-Aides.