By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — This year’s seventh annual Evening of Jazz concert at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts will have a definite local flavor as the area band, Courtney Cox and the Rainmakers, will be the featured entertainment.
The concert will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. April 6 in the Mitchell Museum Performance Hall. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served and there will be a cash bar.
The ensemble, which formed about seven years ago, has performed in a variety of venues throughout Southern Illinois — which makes sense — since most of the band members are from the area.
Musicians in the ensemble include Courtney Cox of Benton, who plays the piano; Leslie Cox of Benton on vocals; Tom Herman of Benton on guitar; Larry Phifer of Mt. Vernon, bass; Chet Razer of Sparta on drums; Tom Baker of Salem on trumpet; Randy Atkinson of Mt. Vernon, trombone; Richard McCollum of Benton, sax; Dan Kelley of Evansville, Ind., sax; and Polly Launay of Mt. Vernon, violin. The Rainmakers’ adopted their unique name from the fact that many early outdoor performances were rained out.
“This year we’re excited. We’ve had different musician groups in the last six years, but this year we’re excited it’s a regional group,” said Sarah Sledge, Cedarhurst marketing director. “They’re known throughout Southern Illinois because they’re all from the general area, including several from here in Mt. Vernon.”
Dan and Neth Huebel, Rend Lake College dance instructors, will lead couples on the dance floor as they demonstrate popular dance styles, a news release stated.
“We always have dance space at our concert. This year we’ll have one, if not two couples, that participate in Rend Lake College instruction will be here. We’re trying to encourage people to dance. It’s another level of the event to make it not just a concert but an interactive action so people feel comfortable getting up and dancing,” Sledge said.
Evening of Jazz is sponsored by Dr. James Chow and WDML Radio, and co-sponsored by Crossroads Community Hospital, Graphics by Design, and Roberts Financial Group, Inc.
Tickets for the event are $35 per person or $30 for members of Cedarhurst and can be purchased at Cedarhurst by calling 242-1236.
Tickets will also be available at the door.