All jazz, all day in Olympia – all for good cause

Staff writerNovember 23, 2013 

A mixture of youthful energy and good old fashioned toe-tapping jazz filled The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia on Saturday.

Nearly a dozen middle and high school jazz bands — most from Thurston County — performed throughout the day at the Cool Jazz/Clean Water Festival.

“It’s just a really cool atmosphere,” said Jack Steele, 16, a junior at Black Hills High School in Tumwater. “We’re listening to the cream of the crop from each school.”

In its 13th year, the event also included an evening of wine tasting, a silent auction, and entertainment by professional jazz musicians.

Organizers hoped to raise about $25,000, said Kim Dinsmore, who is on the volunteer committee for the event.

“All nine Thurston County Rotary Clubs help” with organization, Dinsmore said. “We’re all a part of it.”

Forty percent of the proceeds will be used to help repair or purchase musical instruments for local schools, 40 percent will go to support a clean water project in a developing country, and 20 percent will help pay for a youth leadership summit that’s organized by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, Dinsmore said.

In addition to performing, each band spent part of the day working one on one with a professional jazz musician who gave them tips on how to improve their performances.

“It’s all for education purposes — not competition,” Dinsmore said.

The students also had a chance to jam alongside the pros on The Washington Center’s stage in the early afternoon.

“It’s basically like an extended concert going the entire day,” said Darwin Jones, 16, a junior at Black Hills. “I like listening to other groups as well as being able to perform and get feedback from the judges.”

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433

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