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Concert will have music for all tastes

Though it was invented decades before jazz emerged as an original American music style, the saxophone has always been linked closely with the free-flowing, expressive music style.

As a sax-man himself, Demopolis City Schools band director Phillip Bonds has been anxious to start a jazz band program for all of his eight years in the system.

“I couldn’t get anyone really interested in starting a jazz band,” he said, between practice runs through “Harlem Nocturne,” a jazz standard written in 1940. “So, I’m making everyone play it this year. Then they’ll be ready next year.”

Jazz is just one of example of the varied styles and flavors of music Demopolis’ beginner, intermediate and advanced bands will perform Monday night at the Spring Concert. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Monday at the Demopolis Civic Center. Tickets are $3 for adults and $1 for children under age 12.

Playing a concert at the civic center, Bonds said, “is something I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been here.”

To make sure he took advantage of the room’s acoustics, Bonds has planned a varied collection of music for Monday’s show.

From the militant marches of John Phillip Sousa

and the uniquely American symphonies of Aaron Copeland, to works by Russian composer Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky and tunes with a Spanish flavor, Bonds hopes to have something to please all musical tastes in the show.

The jazz portion, though, was Bonds’ main focus Friday, as the advanced band ran through one of its final rehearsals before showtime Monday night. They opened a personal performance for the press Friday with the Glenn Miller swing classic, “In the Mood.”

The saxophones and trumpets carried the melody, as trombones and tubas bounced along the bass line, with clarinets and flutes trilling away in the background.

For the songs closing fanfare, tuba-player Keith Junious was enlisted to hit the almost ear-splitting high-D that’s a trademark of the song.

He hit it, almost pitch-perfect.

“And Keith’s been playing that all day long,” Bonds said, noting Junious’ work to get used to the trumpet’s much smaller mouthpiece. “Not bad!”