by Jim Boyle
In the world of the Elk River High School band program, there’s Elk River Black and there’s Elk River Red.
Red is for those band members on the rise. Black is for the best of the best high school band members.
And now there’s one more rung on the ladder, with the Elk River Red White Blue, an alumni Elk River High School jazz band that current band director John Rosner is pulling together for Elk River’s 2011 Independence Day Celebration.
He’s got a crew in hand, including nine alumni, but he’s also begun putting feelers out for some of the program’s former stars from as far back as the 1988–89 school year.
“I’m getting a good response so far,” Rosner said.
So far all he has relied on has been word of mouth, with the help of the Elk River band boosters and Facebook. And now he’s turned to the newspaper.
He’s hoping to hear from recipients of the Louie Armstrong Jazz Band Award, an award given to the high school’s top jazz band musician for the year.
That list includes Aaron Gunderson, the first recipient of the award. It also includes a police officer and a college student headed for Boston this fall to pursue a law degree.
He’s asking these and other alumni band members to get in contact with him soon, so if you know of any of the Louie Armstrong Award recipients, make sure the word gets out to them.
Rosner has been approached by the Elk River Independence Day 2011 Committee about performing at the second annual event. He’s willing to play a lead role in pulling this off, but will need some help from the community.
The Independence Day Committee is looking for a sponsor of the band’s effort in hopes of bringing in additional music educators to make the experience great for current and alumni band members.
“This could really be something special,” Rosner said.
“What a great opportunity for the Elk River band program to give back and be supportive to the community for this event,” said Cindy Bayles, president of the Elk River Band Boosters. “Likewise, it’s an opportunity for the community to hear and watch great music from some very talented musicians who, in essence, have a great passion for music.”
“We look forward to seeing former band students and putting on a great show. I hope that this event will become a tradition and be held annually.”
Louie Armstrong Jazz Band Award winners