Wood River senior Storm Anderson won the Challis Invitational 170-pound title Satur-day, Feb. 2.
Express graphic by Kristen Kaiser
Calling the anticipated performances at this year’s 24th annual Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree a better cure for what ails you than Xanax, organizer Carol Loehr said she hopes the festival’s energy and entertainment brings some healing and joy to the Wood River Valley after a rough fire season.
Swinging into town Oct. 16-20, and with multiple performance venues spread out at Sun Valley Resort, there will be no shortage of musical events. Drawing artists and jazz fans from all over the country, the festival will bring in approximately 250 musicians and more than 5,000 patrons.
“I know the community is still reeling from the effects of the fire,” Loehr said. “I’m hoping our event will bring joy and healing and cheer to Sun Valley.”
The Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree will feature multiple jazz disciplines, including contemporary, smooth jazz, cabaret, big band swing, blues, zydeco and comedians. The five-day festival will be an opportunity for jazz aficionados to hear their favorites, and newcomers to discover and become educated about a variety of genres.
“Our whole purpose is to educate the next generation about jazz,” Loehr said.
A free “Next Generation” event is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19, at which up-and-coming youth musicians will be showcased.
The event will also feature the Yale Whiffenpoofs, a 12-person a cappella choir that travels around the world singing show tunes, pop and various jazz songs. They will also perform a whistle-stop tour through Hailey and Ketchum on Thursday, Oct. 17, serenading the public at locations such as Atkinsons’ Market and Christina’s Restaurant and Bakery.
Festival favorites will also be returning this year, such as Meschiya Lake and the Little Bighorns. Appearing as the “Great Lady of Jazz” at the festival, Lake was recently awarded Vocalist of the Year at the Big Easy Awards in New Orleans. The band also received the Best Traditional Jazz Band of the Year at the awards show, and was featured at the free community show on Tuesday night, which was held at the indoor ice rink.
“Doctors should prescribe music festivals
instead of Xanax.
It’s better for you.”
Loehr originally discovered Lake and her band when she heard them playing on a street corner in New Orleans. “I heard the most incredible voice wafting down the street,” she said. The group has been playing at the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree ever since.
New artists will also be in attendance, including Lisa Kelly and J.B. Scott, who were recently listed by Downbeat magazine as one of the top 100 up-and-coming jazz artists this year. With Kelly on vocals and Scott playing the trumpet, their music focuses on contemporary jazz compositions.
Another exciting new act will visit from Logan, Utah, putting on a show called “In the Miller Mood.” Fashioned after a World War II-era USO show, the event will include dancers, singers, big band music and skits.
“It’s like seeing a Broadway show,” Loehr said.
Almost all of the musicians will perform original jazz compositions as well as recognizable tunes. Showcasing world-class musicians from as far away as Norway, the weekend will draw visitors from across the country.
“We are a unique, interesting, eclectic sort of people,” Loehr said. “I hope it will be an event that can help restore the community through bringing in wonderful music and happy people. Really, it’s a recipe for a party.”
Once again, a swing-dancing competition will challenge dancers of all levels. There will be four categories: Over 50, Beginners, Lindy Hop and a Jack and Jill competition, in which partners will be matched randomly. Free dance lessons will be offered, and an admission pass plus $10 fee is all that is required to compete.
A full schedule of all of the events and ticket information can be found at www.sunvalleyjazz.com. Patrons can purchase event passes online or at the Sun Valley Lodge during the festival. Day badges or five-day event passes are available, as well as information regarding the upcoming dance competition and lessons.
For Loehr, the jamboree offers a great mood adjustment.
“Doctors should prescribe music festivals instead of Xanax. It’s better for you,” she said.
Those crazy kids from Yale and other freebies
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Wood River High Dixieband, 6:30 p.m. in the Sun Room of the Sun Valley Lodge.
Thursday, Oct. 17: Yale Whiffenpoofs pop-up concerts around town.
In Hailey: Java at 8:45 a.m. with the WRHS B-Tones; KECH at 9:15 a.m.; Hailey Coffee Co. at 9:35 a.m.; Blaine Manor at 10 a.m.; Albertsons at 10:35 a.m.
In Ketchum: Big Wood School at 11:30 a.m.; Cristina’s at 12:15 p.m.; Atkinson’s at 12:35 p.m.; Perry’s at 1 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19: Borah High School CDVJE at 11 a.m., Sun Room in the Sun Valley Lodge. Next Generation (Bill, Shelley and Westy; high school choirs; Whiffenpoofs) Limelight Room at Sun Valley Lodge at 5 p.m. and Mountain View High Jazz Choir at 8 p.m., Sun Room in the Sun Valley Lodge.