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Vaughn Wiester scholarship concert in Mount Vernon Saturday

MOUNT VERNON – MVNU first-year vocal student Bailey Snyder will be featured along with Columbus Jazz vocalist Rachel Sepulveda at the eighth annual scholarship benefit concert by Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra, this Saturday, April 14, in the Knox County Memorial Theater. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. concert is free to the public on a first-come basis until the auditorium’s capacity is reached.

Mount Vernon native Vaughn Wiester brings his 21-piece ensemble to his hometown for what has become one of the most anticipated annual concert dates in the Memorial Theater. Making her first Mount Vernon appearance as featured vocalist with the Famous Jazz Orchestra will be Rachel Sepulveda, whose jazz talents extend beyond singing to arranging and conducting. Bailey Snyder, winner of last year’s Vaughn Wiester Music Scholarship competition will be the seventh honoree to perform at the annual benefit concert. The Community Concerts Association of Knox County and the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County are once again collaborating to present this evening of free big band music to the Knox County Community.

The Vaughn Wiester Music Scholarship will be awarded for the eighth time this spring to an aspiring instrumentalist or vocalist who is a graduating high school senior residing in Knox County. Funds for the scholarship are being raised through the solicitation of individual patrons and corporate sponsors, and through voluntary contributions in any amount that will be invited from audience members.

            Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra is made up of 21 of central Ohio’s finest musicians who have come together every Monday evening on a semi-informal basis since 1997. They share their love of jazz playing their favorite big band charts. For fans, this is an opportunity to hear the sounds of Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, and other great bands.  Occasionally there are guest instrumental or vocal artists, or guest arrangers conducting their own arrangements. Many nationally known arrangers have been commissioned to write for the Famous Jazz Orchestra, including Bill Holman, Herb Harrison, Slide Hampton, Lennie Niehaus, Bill Dobbins, Paul Ferguson and Al Kiger.


Members of the orchestra have played with orchestras of Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Woody Herman, Mel Lewis, Tommy Dorsey, Ralph Marterie, and Buddy Rich, as well as Columbus bands including Al Waslohn, Doc Everhart, Bruno Masdea, Chuck Selby, Rick Brunetto, and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Many members have been on local university jazz faculties.

While still a student, Wiester played and arranged for the Riley Norris Band. After a hitch as a Navy trombonist Wiester arrived in Columbus in 1968, attended The Ohio State University and joined the Dave Workman Blues Band. In 1972 he became a member of the Jazz Arts Group led by Ray Eubanks, and in 1974 he was invited to join the Woody Herman Orchestra.

After two years on the road with Herman, Wiester returned to Columbus to accept a position at the Dave Wheeler Contemporary Music Workshop and to resume his activities with the Jazz Arts Group as a bass trombonist and arranger. In 1977 he was invited to join the faculty at Capital University as part of their pioneering Jazz Studies degree program. Throughout this 17-year association, he taught courses in jazz arranging and jazz history aid directed the prize-winning Big Band Sound Big Band. In 1980 he joined the Terry Waldo Ragtime Orchestra.

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