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Swingin' benefit

Published Sep. 13, 2005

Like pied pipers, Hernando Jazz Society members will play the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman to draw crowds for charity.

Society members will donate their talents today at a concert dubbed "It Might as Well be Swing" to benefit the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill.

Kiwanis president Eddie Lawrence said the show is one of the club's major fund-raising events for the year. It will help the group provide money for charities, including the Children's Miracle Network, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Mid-Florida Head Start Center.

"We wanted to get the help of the Hernando Jazz Society because they are always so willing to help out in the community," he said. "Not to mention that it's a lot of fun to get together with them."

Lawrence, who is also a member of the society, has made a name for himself as a blues singer since he moved to Hernando County from New York six years ago. He now performs regularly at clubs and jazz shows.

"It's been a lifelong ambition of mine to sing on stage," said the retired police officer. "When nobody threw tomatoes, I figured I had something good going."

With a repertoire of jazz and blues favorites, Lawrence blends well with the jazz society. At today's concert, he will sing such standards as Smack Dab in the Middle, Ain't Misbehavin', and Hallelujah, I Love Her So, as well as some original tunes.

"We will have some new songs that we've just worked out," he said in his smooth baritone voice. "That should be a lot of fun."

On stage with Lawrence, Lori Hafer will perform jazz standards including You've Changed, Sunny Side of the Street and Serenade in Blue.

Jazz society president Roy Daniels, who will play in the concert, said he is glad to donate his talents.

"Kiwanis is such a great charity," he said. "And this will allow them to have money for events as they need it. Music is what the people want, so we are going to give it to them."

Members of the Hernando Jazz Society will perform at 7 tonight at Springstead Theatre, 3300 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. Advance tickets are $6.50 and are available from Kiwanis Club members and at Abby Travel, 2404 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. Tickets are $7.50 at the door.