Signal Mountain High School will introduce its new jazz ensemble to the community with the school's Music Boosters' first-ever Swing Swang Swung fundraiser, to be held at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church Friday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m.
"There's a lot of schools in the North Georgia area that do this type of event," said band director Robert Groves, who previously taught in Ringgold. "It's a good opportunity for the community to see all the work this group has done and hear types of music they don't normally get to hear."
The SMHS jazz ensemble is composed of 20 students, who had their first taste of performing recently when they opened for the UTC jazz band at Roland Hayes Concert Hall April 18.
"It's a chance to see another side of the band aside from what we do at football games," said Garrett Greer, a SMHS junior who is the band's current assistant drum major and will serve as drum major next year. "All band is fun, but [playing jazz] is a different kind of fun and it changes things up."
Included in the ensemble on alto saxophone is sophomore Billy Matsumoto, who was recently selected for the All-East Jazz Band over 30 to 40 other players vying for only one or two chairs.
The group's upcoming fundraising event, to be catered by Amanda Varnell of Cooking Live, will also feature adult performers the Chattanooga Monday Nite Big Band.
All funds raised will go directly to the school's Music Boosters to help fund the band program, which includes the marching and jazz percussion bands, for the purchase of large instruments and other needs, said Groves.
"The Boosters are the band program's only source of funding," he said. "The county doesn't give much money to the arts, and to have a well-rounded music program it unfortunately requires money."
He said the $100 provided by Hamilton County for the program runs out very quickly, considering the price of one new tuba ranges between $3,000 and $5,000. The school's Music Boosters, which has a budget of approximately $50,000 to $60,000, is what keeps the program in existence, he said.
The Boosters also raise funds through volunteers who work the concession stand at Lookouts games as well as a citrus sale in the fall.
"We try our best not to sell things because we know the community is fairly small and everyone's got their hand out," said Groves. "We plan on this being an annual event toward the end of the spring semester."
Students in the SMHS marching and concert bands will be serving dinner at the event. Tickets, which should be purchased in advance, are $25 and anyone is welcome to attend.
Call Missy Thompson at 634-9070, ext.101, for tickets, or visit signalcorpsmarchingband.com for more information. Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church is located at 612 James Blvd.