Arts and Entertainment

All this jazz — for you

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Music has a funny way of transcending the generations.


No need to tell the Sequim High School Jazz band or the Stardust Big Band, who team up for an evening of dazzling dancing and a delicious dinner Saturday night.


The event helps the school's band program play at events across the state and, every other year, compete at the Heritage Festival in Anaheim, Calif. That trip includes a visit to Disneyland, where the band represents Sequim with a performance in the heralded park.


But for event organizers, Saturday night's festivities hardly need more of a selling point; the dinner-dance, they say, figuratively stands on its own.


"I just enjoy the kids being exposed to other groups and musicians," says Vern Fosket, Sequim High band director. "It's combining the the bands together and the combined musicianship of the two groups (that's great)."


He said the Sequim band leads things off Saturday evening with a repertoire of contemporary jazz, some swing-era jazz and even some Latin-influenced numbers.


Then it's on to the Stardust Big Band, a troop of musicians of varying ages and experience.


Bobbie Usselman, band manager for Stardust, says the veteran musicians in her group enjoy getting to hear their younger counterparts.


"That's always very entertaining; it's always nice to hear the good high school musicians, who then many times move on to play with us," she says.


She notes that some current high school musicians — such as senior Hillary Smith this year — play with both groups.


"It's fun because we get to hear them play and then the kids also get out there (to dance) and have a good time," Usselman says.


Usselman, who plays clarinet and saxophone for Stardust, says that connection between bands is special in that it ties the community together. She would know; in her office at the City of Sequim, two of her co-workers have musicians in the SHS band.


Stardust will play its normal complement of tunes, she says, including "Leapfrog," a favorite among the SHS jazz players.


"The kids really like that song — it's a lively tune," Usselman says.


After Stardust finishes a set, the bands combine to play the Glenn Miller standard, "In the Mood."


Beyond the music, Usselman says, the event is simply a great night out.


"You get a nice meal and you get good entertainment," she says. "You get to dance, to work off the meal."


Stardust also has a standing gig at 7 Cedars Casino's Club Seven; they play from 5:30-9 p.m. the last Sunday of each month (that'd be Oct. 28 for their next date), with no cover charged.


This annual Jazz Dinner Dance Event is sponsored by the Band Boosters.


Reach Michael Dashiell at



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