Jazz musicians take over Hopkins band shell when municipal band season ends

Jazz in Progress member Jim Selig plays the tenor saxophone.
Jazz in Progress member Jim Selig plays the tenor saxophone.

DeKALB – Spend enough time in the local community and you might bump into one of the 18 members of Jazz In Progress, a local community jazz band under the direction of David Lehman. Show up at Hopkins Band Shell at the right times and you’ll see them all together. 

The band will perform free concerts at the band shell at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26 and Sept. 2, taking the Tuesday slot the week after the DeKalb Municipal Band wraps up its season. Jazz in Progress will feature the very best of classic jazz standards and recent favorites.

“If you love jazz, we promise to please you at least once or twice during the evening,” Lehman said.  

Joining Jazz in Progress at the first concert will be local jazz legend John Skillman of the Barb City Stompers. Skillman plays jazz all over the world in a variety of venues, and will be featured on a surprise selection displaying his unmistakable clarinet sound.  

Founded by Aaron Butler to encourage local musicians to play for the love of music, Jazz in Progress made its public debut in 2012 as part of the Celebration Chorale “Salute to the USO” concert. They have also been seen at Altgeld Hall, St. Mary’s Legacy Ball, Rockin' for the Reptiles and several other community and charity events.

A popular feature of the group is the opportunity for young jazz musicians to sit in and play for more experience. Jazz in Progress got its name from the way the band’s philosophy was developed.

“We were a group of musicians playing mostly for fun, while trying to find our sound and improve our playing," drummer Libby Witty said. "So being a work in progress led to our name, as well as our mission statement.”

Jazz in Progress is an official 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that puts funds raised back into the community, including organizations like the DeKalb and Sycamore Music Boosters.  

Admission is free and open to all.  For more information on Jazz in Progress, call 815-751-0006.

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