Northrop to celebrate original Dixieland jazz style


By Garth Snow

The Farmland Jazz Band will serve as the guest artists and clinicians at the Barry A. Ashton Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 10, at Northrop High School.

Northrop instrumental music director Rob Wilson said Farmland is one of the few local groups performing the Dixieland jazz style. “They’ve been doing a lot in the area,” he said. The ensemble has entertained thousands of people at the Three Rivers Festival and other events in the Fort Wayne area.

“It’s the original [style],” Wilson said. “It started in New Orleans and that’s where jazz originated.” He said Dixieland has kept its personality through the decades. “It’s more like a street band or a brass band kind of feel,” he said. “Usually it’s smaller than the big bands we have at the high school. It’s kind of the music and the style of the teens, ’20s and ’30s when it was most popular.”

He said Farmland usually consists of about seven musicians. Its roster includes: Alan Parr and Todd Ward, trumpet; Scott Rogers, William Frazier and George Kaiser, trombone; Ed Renz, clarinet; Matt Cashdollar, C melody saxophone; Zach Kohlmeier, tuba; Brad Kuhns and Colin Taylor, bass; Kenny Taylor and Dan Weirich, banjo; and John Renz, drums.

Take a closer look at Farmland at

Wilson said student musicians will rehearse throughout the day, and Farmland musicians will present a clinic with students at 4:45 p.m.

The entire group will perform for the public at 7 p.m. in the Northrop auditorium. Admission is $5, or $3 for students and seniors. A single admission price is good for the entire day. Northrop H.S. is at 7001 Coldwater Road, Fort Wayne.

Between clinics and performance, students will be busy from about 9 a.m. until about 9 p.m.

“There will be awards for outstanding soloists, outstanding members of different sections, the best middle school band, best combo and the three top honor bands,” Wilson said.

As of Feb. 12, Wilson had one or more groups signed up from John Adams, Carroll, Homestead, Leo, Northrop, North Side, Norwell, Snider and South Side high schools, Anderson Preparatory Academy, and Jefferson and Memorial Park middle schools.

Wilson said Northrop students are excited to be playing jazz and hosting the Northrop festival. “We just got back from Snider, and we’ll be at North Side next week, so they’re playing very well, working very hard,” he said.