By Bailey Faulkner
The High Country Jazz Society will kick off its summer concert series at the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock this Mother’s Day, May 14 with the Chad Eby Group. Eby, a renowned saxophonist and jazz faculty member at UNC Greensboro, and his band will perform as the first installment in the High Country Jazz Society’s 2017 season, which includes six concerts that will take place between Mother’s Day and October 8.
The High Country Jazz Society, formerly known as the Blowing Rock Jazz Society, was founded two decades ago by drummer Fred Germann when he recognized that his new home in the High Country needed an outlet for its jazz fans and musicians.
“When I moved here, I thought, you know, people here would enjoy listening to that kind of music, and we can provide it and put musicians to work,” Germann said.
Although the High Country is traditionally associated with bluegrass and old-time music, Germann and the Blowing Rock Jazz Society found that the area is also receptive to jazz, which Germann cites as the “original American art form.” Two decades later, the society now brings jazz musicians from as far away as Florida to perform during its summer series.
“I’m excited about continuing to bring good jazz music to the High Country,” organizer and jazz saxophonist Todd Wright said.
The High Country Jazz Society uses most of its membership dues to support ASU’s jazz studies program and jazz programming in High Country public schools. Wright, also a professor and director of jazz studies at ASU, sees firsthand the impact that the society has on those in ASU’s music program and other aspiring musicians in the High Country.
“It’s an exciting time for us to keep jazz and jazz education alive,” Wright said.
If you want to become a member of the High Country Jazz Society, send an email to [email protected] indicating your interest. Membership dues include free admission to each of the six Sunday concerts and email reminders for each show. Adult membership fees are $65, and students can join the society for $20.
In addition to becoming a member, you can also help keep jazz thriving in the High Country as a sponsor. For more information, email [email protected]
This season will see the return of several popular jazz acts from previous years. Check out the schedule below.
May 14 – Chad Eby Group (jazz faculty at UNC Greensboro)
June 11 – Russ Wilson Group (drummer/vocalist/entertainer based in Asheville)
July 9 – Larry Lapin Trio with Michelle Amato (July regulars)
August 13 – Noel Freidline Group (August regulars)
September 10 – Brazilian Romance (Brazilian jazz with Todd Wright and Welson Tremura)
October 8 – ASU Jazz Ensemble I
If you love jazz or simply want to help keep music and arts alive in the area, the High Country Jazz Society would love to have you join for a summer of great music!
“We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the Meadowbrook Inn for another great season,” Wright said.