Tickets for the 10th annual Fillmore Central Big Band Bash are now on sale for the general public. The concert by the Middle School Jazz Orchestra and High School Jazz Ensemble will be Saturday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Wheelers Bar and Grill in Harmony.

The annual Bash always includes featured guest artists who hold music clinics with student-musicians the week before the Bash. This year's guest artists are The Bruce Henry Sextet with professional jazz artists Peter Vircks, tenor sax; Jay Epstein, drumset; Daryl Boudreaux, rhythm; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass, and Bruce Henry on vocals.

The Bruce Henry Sextet were the featured artists at the 2009 Big Band Bash and will be bringing back everyone from that ensemble. The Big Band Bash will also be bringing in special guest artist Debbie Duncan, who is one of the Midwest's premier vocalists with an ability to sing a range of styles.

Fillmore Central band director Lane Powell is very excited about Duncan participating. "She is very soulful in her blues singing, but she can sing popular songs without overdoing it as well. She is very versatile."

Powell is also looking forward to the opportunity the students will have to learn and interact with professional musicians. The artists will hold clinics and sectionals with high school and junior high students. They will also visit the elementary school to teach students about the history of jazz.

The Friday night before the Bash, at 7 p.m., The Bruce Henry Sextet and Debbie Duncan will hold a special guest artist concert at Wheelers for just $10 at the door.

"To bring these kind of musicians in for that kind of price is great," shared Powell. "They promote an American art form in jazz and they are great educators as well."

Many area businesses have donated funds toward helping with the cost of bringing the artists to Fillmore Central. Powell said they are also applying to receive a grant from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council.

Those interested in purchasing tickets can pick up an order form directly from Lane Powell by writing to: Lane Powell, Director of Bands, Fillmore Central High School, 145 Main Ave. South, Harmony, MN 55939 or by calling the school at (507) 886-6464 ext. 3121.

If one knows a student who will be performing in the Bash, one may be able to get in on their order form as well.

The tickets sell extremely fast, so the time to act is now!