Heritage Ramblers to perform

PARKERSBURG – A jazz band under the wings of the U.S. Air Force will perform in a free concert in Parkersburg at 7:30 p.m. March 15 at the Smoot Theatre on Fifth Street.

Tickets for the performance by the USAF Heritage Ramblers will be available starting Tuesday at the Smoot Theatre, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, a sponsor of the band concert, on Juliana Street, and at the band offices at Parkersburg High School and Parkersburg South High School, said Felice Jorgeson, executive director of the Smoot.

Up to five tickets per person will be given away and tickets will not be mailed, Jorgeson said. The Smoot, a Vaudeville-era theater, has 720 seats.

“The News and Sentinel is excited to be able to bring this opportunity to the people of the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said James Spanner, publisher of The News and Sentinel. “It’s been a long-standing tradition for us to bring armed services bands into the area at no charge to our residents.”

The show in Parkersburg was arranged when the leader of the band, Tech. Sgt. John Garcia, contacted the Smoot about performing here, Jorgeson said. The band had a performance scheduled in Charleston and was looking for another local place to play, Jorgeson said.

“They asked ‘Can you put us on stage’ and I said ‘sure,'” she said.

The Heritage Ramblers is a five-person combo that plays Dixieland and Chicago styles of jazz, Jorgeson said. In the group is a trumpet, base, clarinet, guitar and drums.

The Heritage Ramblers, a part of the Heritage of America Band, was formed in 2010. The group’s mission is to preserve and present the heritage of traditional jazz. The group performs the music of such jazz legends as Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden and Bix Beiderbecke.

Other members of the band are Master Sgt. Jennifer Dashnaw on clarinet, Staff Sgt. James Lantz on trumpet, Master Sgt. Mathew Dunsmore on tuba, Staff Sgt. Timothy Rogers on guitar and Staff Sgt. Darren Raybourne on drums.

The style has a common theme at the beginning, then each player does a solo when they perform the music according to their individual tastes, styles and interpretations, said Jorgeson, a former band director at Parkersburg High School.

That’s jazz, she said.

“It’s never the same twice,” Jorgeson said.