Downtown Sherman will be bouncing with jazz music this weekend. The first Sherman Jazz Festival began Friday evening with a performance by the 3 River Jazz band featuring Victoria Cook at the Old Iron Post in Sherman.
The festival continues Saturday with a jazz workshop from 3-4 p.m. at the Sherman Jazz Museum. The free event will allow area residents to meet Doc Severinsen, Johnny Carson’s longtime band leader on the “Tonight Show,” as well as Alan Baylock, director of the University of North Texas’s One O’Clock Lab Jazz Band.
“During Mardi Gras, the Old Iron Post has hosted the Dixieland Jazz Band and around St. Patrick’s Day, we had a bag pipe band,” restaurant owner Robert Little said. “So we like to celebrate music and bring in artists that people would like to hear.”
Ahead of Cook’s performance on Friday afternoon, Robert Little said that he is excited to celebrate the cultural assets that Sherman has downtown.
“My wife and I both enjoy music in general,” he said. “We also have a lot of contacts with local musicians from the southeastern Oklahoma area. We are also a block away from the museum, so we are really doing a disservice if we are not taking advantage of the places like the Sherman Jazz Museum and Kidd-Key Auditorium, which are both downtown.”
Saturday evening, Severinsen and Baylock will join the One O’Clock band for a performance at Kidd-Key Auditorium in Sherman. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $15 at shermanjazz.com.
“People around here know the One O’Clock band,” Little said. “Not only is this a band that travels all over and is really known worldwide, they are from not far off since they represent UNT. They are really great.”
Baylock and the One O’Clock Lab Jazz Band recently performed at Wynne Chapel at Austin College for one of the Community Series’ 50th anniversary season performances. During the performance, Bill Collins Sr., founder of the Sherman High School Band, was recognized for his role in bringing music to children.
“In the Sherman Jazz Museum, we have a picture of Doc Severinsen with the Charlie Barnett band in 1947,” museum owner Bill Collins III said. “Doc had to be like 19-20 years old in the picture and he was already playing with one of the top bands in the world. Now we are in the 21st century and he is still performing.”
Bill Collins III said that he does not know of any other musician that has had a career that long that is still performing.
“We hope that this festival is just the first of many jazz festivals that we have here in Sherman,” Sherry Little said. “We want this to grow and we want to bring more music and more artists to downtown. We want more artists and an increase in energy behind the event. We also want people to enjoy these artists.”