SHS jazz festival draws big crowdPublished 8:34pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Dimmed lights, a well-dressed audience and smooth jazz helped transform the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center into a jazz club Tuesday evening during Selma High School’s third annual jazz festival.
This year, the annual event was held to raise funds for the Selma High Band to purchase new percussion instruments to replace the aging equipment currently in use at the school.
“The percussion equipment we have at the school was there when I was an intern there,” said Brandon Williams, who has been band director at Selma High School for ten years. “We haven’t had new percussion equipment in about twelve years, and every section should change out every six years.”
Before the show started, Williams said 127 $15 tickets had already been purchased by community members, meaning he had already raised more than the $1,500 goal he had set for the evening.
“If this works out, it would be great for me personally because we wouldn’t have to worry about instruments falling apart before our halftime performances or parades,” Williams said. “We need this, and this support for the community means a lot to me.”
Among those in the crowd was Minister Jacqueline Crum, who had four children performing live jazz Tuesday evening.
“It’s very important to have this concert and support our kids,” Crum said. “They need this. A lot of kids around here come from homes where there might be one parent, and this lets them know somebody cares.”
Three of Crum’s daughters who are currently attending Selma High School were singing Tuesday night, along with one of her sons, a Selma graduate, who was playing keyboard.
“My kids have been in the band or choir at Selma High School,” Crum said. “So of course, I’d be out here supporting this event. The band and the choir, both of those programs mean so much to the kids at this school.”
George Rhodes, who spent 18 years teaching chemistry and physics at Selma High School, said events like the annual jazz festival are an important chance to support Selma’s talented youth.
“This school gave me my livelihood, so I support it, and I just enjoy seeing our young people out here performing like this,” Rhodes said. “People talk bad about the younger people all the time, but an event like this shows us all that all hope is not lost.”