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West Point Jazz Knights to put on free show

Apr 01, 2013 09:29AM, Published by Community News Service, Categories: Community



When Robert Violette got the chance to bring the West Point Jazz Knights to Bordentown, the decision was easy, he said. And so, after going through the process, Violette was able to secure the Jazz Knights, who will hold a free performance on Friday, April 5, at Bordentown Regional High School. The show is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. with the Bordentown High School Jazz Band going on stage as the opening act for the Jazz Knights. Violette said it “turned out to be much easier than anyone expected. The Army was just as eager to come to Bordentown as Bordentown was to have the Army’s presence.” Bordentown boasts a long and proud military history. It was home to Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Thomas Paine, who produced the pamphlet Common Sense; and for many years was the site of the Bordentown Military Institute. So, when Violette began negotiating with the military in April of 2012 to bring the Jazz Knights to Assisi, Italy as part of the annual Assisi Music Festival, he saw an opportunity for Bordentown as well. With the idea in mind, Violette, artistic director of Violette Productions and member of the board of directors for the Assisi Music Festival, approached Mayor James Lynch. “I said as long as I’m in contact with West Point, why not ask them to come to Bordentown?” Violette recalled. “Spring is a great time to get out and celebrate with neighbors, and the music making of the Jazz Knights will make the celebration all the greater.” After getting Lynch’s blessing, Violette extended a formal invitation in the fall of 2012, and interest began to grow on both sides. Although the government’s current sequester almost caused the cancellation of the event, Violette credited the members of the Jazz Knights for their ability to work with the West Point Military Academy’s administration to find a way to make it happen. The Jazz Knights are just one of the military bands, choruses and orchestras made up of servicemen and women who serve their country with their “uniformed presence and their musical talents,” Violette said. As part of their service, the musicians hold public concerts that are free to all, while also working for free with school musicians whenever possible, Violette said. Thus, while they are in Bordentown, the Jazz Knights will be working with music students from Bordentown Regional High School and coaching them in the techniques of jazz playing. “What better coaches for these young students than graduates from one of the United States’ best music schools and members of one of the most difficult musical groups to break into?” Violette said. In addition to Violette, Lynch also thanked the Alumni Association of the Bordentown Military Institute, the Bordentown Regional School Board and its president Lisa Hartmann, and superintendent of schools, Dr. Constance Bauer, for their efforts in bringing the event to fruitarian. The show is scheduled for April 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Bordentown Regional High School. Tickets are available, free of charge, at Bordentown City Hall or through email at bordentownmusic@gmail.com. —Brandon Gould


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