Olympic Dixielanders perform for donations to send students to jazz camp

PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Dixielanders want to entice everyone to sing to their tunes.

The Olympic Dixielanders — the youth band division of Jazz in the Olympics — is made up of Port Angeles School District students and is taught by Signe Crawford.

“We really try to teach them the traditional jazz, which isn’t taught at the school,” Crawford said.

The band practices once a week, and sometimes uses practice time to play real gigs at various stores, restaurants and other locations throughout the Sequim and Port Angeles area, Crawford said.

“We are always really excited to play in new places,” she said.

The band doesn’t charge to play, but accepts donations throughout the performances.

Money for scholarships

The gigs are meant to help raise money for scholarships for the students to attend the annual Heebie Jeebies Jazz Camp in the summer.

The tuition for the camp is $550 per student.

“We’d love it if we could raise enough so that none of the students have to pay,” Crawford said of the nine students in the Olympic Dixielanders.

Bud Critchfield, who has long been part of the Jazz in the Olympics Society, said that the youth program is to help keep jazz alive.

“We don’t want this traditional jazz to die out when all of the people who play it now are gone,” he said.

Improvisation is a strong element in the music, he said, adding that this was a good lesson for students.

Bryan Schlinkmann, who plays the trumpet in the band, said he joined two years ago.

“I have really liked it because it is different than playing in the regular band,” he said.

Curry Winborn, who has played in the band for a year, started out as a piano player, but has used the band to stretch his drumming muscles.

“It is very open and fun, and I’ve enjoyed the drums — even though I sometimes have trouble with tempo,” he said.

“I like it because it is straightforward and there are no wrong notes.”

For more information about the band, or scheduling a gig, phone Crawford at 360-452-5830 or Critchfield at 360-582-3082.

__________

Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladaily news.com.

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