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Jazz Impact

Jazz Impact Auditions Wednesday, September 12, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Read letter (PDF)

Jazz Impact History

In April 1969, Bob Delly gathered a group of eighth graders from several Lake County schools, Wickliffe Middle, Willoughby Junior, Mentor Ridge, Mentor Memorial and his own J. R. Williams in Painesville. With the cooperation and approval of their directors, John Sanchez, Ray Rinaldi, Jean Kelly and Muril Zimmerman a supplemental jazz ensemble was born. They rehearsed at J. R. Williams. All the members returned for the next full year and more joined as the group was now in full 'swing'. These original members played together and became Jazz Impact. Highlight of the early years was the first Lakeland Festival in 1973. Mr. Charles Frank asked Bob and the group to play the festival with known artist Clark Terry. Impact rose to the occasion and was off and running.

Bob handed the baton to Len Orcino in the fall of 1974. The band was now rehearsing at Lake Catholic HS where Len was director of bands. Already a well known and powerful group, it was easy to find places to play. The band played at jazz festivals. Often these festivals had both college and HS sections and Impact usually played as the first band at the college division. Honors or all-star HS groups were uncommon and frowned on. The band played school concerts, mall concerts even Tuesday nights at Joey's Jazz Club. Again Charles Frank was kind enough to ask us to play the Lakeland Festival. This time we played will Bill Watrous and it was the whole first half of the evening.

Our next big goal was the famous Notre Dame Jazz Festival. We continued playing concerts at malls, taking donations, etc. AND our elusive and now somewhat famous album, Impact Live '77. Our fund raiser for the Notre Dame trip.

Notre Dame: We weren't allowed to compete because of our status as an honors or all-star band. We played during the judging of the HS division of the festival. We were asked to play for fifteen minutes. We eventually played for about forty. Everyone was amazed that we continued to pullout chart after chart and blew their socks off. Most bands went with three tunes. We played at least ten with great solos. Most impressive. We played our entire album.

We were asked to join the community of performing groups at Lakeland the next year, an offer we couldn't refuse. Thank you Chuck Frank! We finally had a budget for music. We continued to play the Lakeland Jazz Festivals up to 1985. We performed at other Jazz Festivals on a regular basis including -- Tri-C; Akron Univ; and Ohio State. We played our school, mall and special concerts in Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties. We were honored to perform at the Ohio Music Educators Assn. Convention, where we performed a mini concert and provided a demonstration band for Ray Wright from the Eastman School of Music. We made eleven appearances (taped) on WKYC Sunday Magazine morning TV show with Tom Haley.

We fortunately have tapes of the Lakeland Festivals to document these fine bands. I'm still amazed after all my years as a director at how exceptional some of the playing and soloing is on many of these tapes. I also am fortunate to have kept photo albums of our performances and a picture is worth more than words. If you could see some of the ones on the bus to ND. These joys are all precious but only secondary to making music itself and that's why we're here. Close encounter of the best kind.


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