Put on your dancing shoes and come hungry to Newport High School Jazz Band’s annual fundraiser.
Known in the past as the Big Band Blast, this year’s event is called Dinner and Dancing and is co-hosted by Riptyde, whose seven band members are all students or recent alumni of Lincoln County School District’s music programs.
“We want people to have fun, enjoy the meal and get loose for the night,” said Julián Elizalde, lead guitarist and spokesperson for Riptyde.
The event takes place on Saturday, March 9, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Newport Middle School. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with school identification, $5 for kids ages 3–12, $35 for families (three to five people), and kids 2 and under are free. A taco dinner is compliments of Newport Band Boosters (parents).
“It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” said Rachel Steward, NHS music teacher. Proceeds from the dinner and dancing event help fund the band’s annual trip to play in Portland’s Starlight Parade and scholarships for students to participate in Honors Festival and Drum Major Camp.
Steward, a homegrown LCSD teacher, remembers playing in the event when she was an NHS Jazz Band student. “To me, it was a good opportunity to see what music can do, besides a sit down concert, for the community,” she said. “It’s nice to have something interactive.”
The jazz band will play a variety of jazz, swing, funk and rock. “It’s technically called a jazz band, but we’re more of a big band, stage band kind of performance,” Steward said.
Riptyde will play contemporary and original rock and roll.
Elizalde started his music career while attending Newport Middle School, and last year he graduated from NHS with a scholarship. Currently he attends Oregon Coast Community College, where he is studying to be a teacher of history or music.
Since the end of the last school year, Riptyde has played at venues including the Libraries Rock tour for kids in the summer reading program, Barrel to Keg Relay Race and Lincoln County Fair. This summer, they intend to put out their first EP (extended play list) album with six songs.
In the past year, the jazz band has played the Newport Rotary Christmas Lunch, at the Newport Chamber of Commerce, and for the Newport Marathon. “It’s really nice to give back to the community that supports us through donations and encouragement,” Steward said.
While the music program has different bands — jazz, pep, marching — it’s mostly all the same kids. Steward wants to spread the word that the bands accept invitations to perform at events. There are no set fees for the bands to perform, but they appreciate donations, which are open-ended.
“We like to get out in the community and play,” Steward said. “We want to be involved.”
Elizalde said when performing, it’s rewarding to see people having fun and enjoying themselves. “The first time I played (the Big Band Blast) my freshmen year of high school, I got really excited seeing everyone there. When the audience is involved, it’s a magical connection between audience and performers.”
A big turnout for the March 9 Dinner and Dancing evening will encourage students to hone their crafts, and spark interest.