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The Carroll County Jazz Ensemble performs during a previous Big Band Merry Christmas Concert. This year the concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7, in the Westminster High School auditorium.
The Carroll County Jazz Ensemble performs during a previous Big Band Merry Christmas Concert. This year the concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7, in the Westminster High School auditorium. (HANDOUT)

The Carroll County Jazz Ensemble and friends return for the 18th year with their Big Band Merry Christmas concert.

Funds from the concert go to Access Carroll Integrated Health Care, which provides health care for uninsured and low-income residents of Carroll County. The annual concert is the largest private fundraising event for the organization. Donations from this event will be matched by grants, foundations and other funding sources.

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This year’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at Westminster High School. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for students and children if purchased in advance by Dec. 6. The cost is $15 and $10 at the door. Groups of 10 or more purchasing tickets together can request reserved seating.

Tickets can be purchased online at AccessCarroll.org or in person at the Carroll Arts Center, Coffey Music, Menchey Music, Hutchinson’s Flowers, Hess Music and Towne Pride Interiors.

“The concept of the concert is a variety show that features excellent musicians from our area, most who have been musicians in our community since they were in school here as teachers and students,” Carroll County Jazz Ensemble leader Glenn Patterson wrote in an email. “This annual concert helps many in our community join in the spirit of the season when they come to hear us perform.”

David Motter, who plays trombone with the ensemble, is one of the stalwarts who have been with Big Band Merry Christmas since the first concert.

In 2002, Patterson brought the group together and the majority of the core members have stuck with it ever since.

“It turned into a yearly adventure after that,” Motter said. “It’s always been a lot of fun to play in [and] nice to get together with the same people.”

The Carroll County Jazz Ensemble is pictured in performance. This year the annual Big Band Merry Christmas concert will take place Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster High School.
The Carroll County Jazz Ensemble is pictured in performance. This year the annual Big Band Merry Christmas concert will take place Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster High School. (Courtesy Photo)

The show also draws loyal audience members, some who have also attended all 18 years.

“It’s the start of the holiday season for some people,” Motter said.

For trombone players like himself, big band music is almost inescapable, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a big fan. And it appeals to people pf all ages, he said. The concert is something he’s shared with his son, who also loves big band music, and some of the students for whom he teaches private lessons.

For Patterson, too, it has been a family affair. Alongside he and his wife Barbara, who are both retired music educators, their children and grandchildren have participated.

Each year, the Jazz Ensemble invites other local performers to join them and this year, the Westminster High School Festival Honors Chorus; the Wiswakarma Sisters Trio; the Cantare Bel Canto II singers of the Carroll County Children’s Chorus; and D and J’s Dynamite Dance Studio fill out the program for the evening.

Featured soloists from the Carroll County Jazz Ensemble include Brad Collins, Jeff Boone, and Joe Sullivan on Saxophone, Glenn Patterson II, Brenna Patterson, David Motter, and Tom Whitman on trombone, Gil Rathel, Charles Berry, and Nick Reider on trumpet, Sam White on guitar, Jon Seligman on drums, Herb Sell on piano and Glenn Patterson vocalist.

Dental assistant Kim Hare, left and Dr. Anna Wu, DDS, treat a patient in a dental suite at Access Carroll in Westminster Monday, November 25, 2019.
Dental assistant Kim Hare, left and Dr. Anna Wu, DDS, treat a patient in a dental suite at Access Carroll in Westminster Monday, November 25, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

According to the news release, since 2005, Access Carroll has been the only full-time safety-net health care provider in Carroll County, and works closely as a partner with Carroll Hospital and the Carroll County Health Department to ensure those most in need are receiving timely, high quality, and critically needed health services. Currently, Access Carroll is serving more than 9,000 individual men, women and children; and continues to grow by an average 80 new patients each month. Access Carroll provides their services on a sliding fee scale and is accepting Maryland Medical Assistance Insurance to ensure that low-income and at-risk neighbors are receiving care.

More information is available at www.accesscarroll.org/big-band-merry-christmas-concert.

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