Chip Gawle and John Rhodes with the WHS Jazz I band. photo: Susan Lash

The Wilton High School Jazz Symposium will return for the 41st year on Friday, Feb. 24, starting at 3:30 p.m. in the WHS Little Theater. The highly-anticipated, community favorite event is open to the public.

WHS band director Nick Loafman expects another year of outstanding jazz performances.

“This is a great WHS tradition, and we are excited to keep it going,” he says.

In addition to performances by WHS Jazz Bands I and II, there will be performances from several other area high school jazz bands, including Weston, Norwalk, and Brien McMahon high schools.

“It is always excellent to have student musicians perform for each other in an educationally focused, non-competitive setting,” Loafman says. “The students will always learn a great deal by performing and listening to each other.”

In total, approximately 100 passionate young jazz musicians are expected to assemble for the event to entertain and share their talents. Musical selections will range in style from traditional, big band swing to Latin to ballads to contemporary jazz.

This event also will feature a special guest performance at 8:30 p.m. by the Berkshire Jazz Orchestra. This regional jazz group–comprised of active performers and educators from all over Fairfield County–has been playing selections from the great jazz band leaders including Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey since 1987.

Loafman is pleased that attendees will be able to enjoy the highly popular music of these guest artists. “We are thankful for the Berkshire Jazz Orchestra’s performance, and for these musicians’ contribution of time and talents,” he says.

Wilton residents are invited to attend and enjoy the magic of great jazz. The First Session runs from 3:30-5:30 p.m.; the Second Session starts at 6:30 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m..