SPRING HILL — The Hernando Jazz Society sets out to show that jazz, swing and other tunes from the big band era are still alive and well as it kicks off its 16th season Sunday with a Big Band Bash.
The event, which will be at the Wellington Clubhouse, will feature nostalgic tunes such as Satin Doll, Take the A Train and Woodchopper's Ball.
A special feature will be a number of high school jazz musicians who will perform alongside the professionals, most of whom are retirees.
"We're finally able to have youth from local schools perform," said Eddie Lawrence, president of the Jazz Society. "We been trying for years to get them excited about this genre of music."
Between six and nine high school musicians are expected to perform on saxophone, trombone and trumpet, as well as a drummer.
"We have brought in a handful of students recommended by their (music) teachers," said Bill McLoughlin, the Jazz Society's publicity chairman. "They are all talented. It should be a very promising show. ... We should pack the house."
Lawrence said the primary reason to have youth perform is to introduce them to jazz and big band music.
"We want them to have an appreciation for the music and start playing it," he said.
The afternoon will include dancing, and a light menu will be available.
While the Jazz Society's season offers an opportunity for musicians to perform and enthusiasts a chance to dance to their favorite tunes, Lawrence stressed that the main focus is to raise money for student scholarships.
Each year, the group offers three $500 scholarships. Though it took a lot of "scraping," Lawrence said the society was able to award four scholarships this year.
"The fourth person was so talented, we couldn't leave him out," he said. "We depend on (monthly concerts) to boost scholarship revenue."
Lawrence said there is always room for new members. The cost is $50 a year per person, which includes free admission to all shows. Admission to the shows for nonmembers is $9 per person.
This season's lineup includes: "Mostly Broadway" in October, "USA in Song" in November, a holiday celebration in December, the Hernando Jazz All-Stars in January, "Ladies of Song" in February, the Hudson Middle School Jazz Band in March, "Swing into Spring" in April, and a performance with scholarship winners in May.
Shows are on the second Sunday of each month, except for May, when the show will be on the third Sunday.
People do not have to be musicians to join the group — just have an appreciation for the music.
"But if there are professional musicians who want to sit in on a session, they are welcome to contact us," Lawrence said.