Thursday, March 27, 2008
The often bright and sometimes moody sounds of the Big Band era, when style and jazz livened dance floors across America, are alive and well, thanks to small bands and combos that continue to play the ever-popular music to appreciative audiences of every age. And no band is a finer representative of the genre than the Jerry Ford Orchestra, which has been treating listeners to a bonanza of fine tunes for 50 years.
Jerry Ford of Cape Girardeau and his musical cohorts have become something of a legend in these parts, with roots going deep into the 1950s. The band can perform almost any song you can name with whatever sweetness or brashness is called for. From time to time, some of the best instrumentalists from some of the best bands of a bygone era sit in, and the result is a melodic elixir.
For many years, Ford and his musical troupe have played countless benefits for worthy causes and organizations in this area. Beneficiaries have included Southeast Missouri Hospital through its annual Christmas concert, the Southeast Missouri State University theater department and, most recently, the auditorium at Central Junior High School that is shared by all the other schools in the district.
After 50 years, the Ford orchestra may show some of the physical indications of age, but the sound is as fresh and pure as ever. And Ford's encouragement of young musicians who have come into their own is well-known.
Congratulations to Jerry Ford and his band of merry music-makers on a half-century of providing a huge dash of uplifting performances for so many fans.