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Old Flint River Dixieland Band gives free concert

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Music lovers will be able to get a taste of New Orleans flare on Tuesday when the Old Flint River Dixieland Band performs a free jazz concert at Clayton State University's Spivey Hall.

The band, an ensemble of the Army Ground Forces Band at Fort McPherson, has been a presence in metro Atlanta for more than 10 years. In this, the band's second performance at Spivey Hall, concert attendees will have a chance to hear and learn about one of the earliest forms of jazz music.

Amber Dimkoff, education manager for Spivey Hall, said the concert is part of Spivey Hall's Young People's Concert Series, an educational series meant to introduce young people to the musical arts. She said that for many young people, the Old Flint River Dixieland Band concert will be an introduction to an unfamiliar art form.

"I've found that most young people don't know anything about it," said Dimkoff. "Only our older folks and senior citizens are familiar with it. That's why I like them to come and perform during our educational series.

"They will talk about the style, the way Dixieland jazz started, and the instruments that are used," she continued. "It's a great way for the students to learn about a new style of music."

The seven-member Old Flint River Dixieland Band consists of: Master Sgt. Miles Griffiths (clarinet); Spc. Joseph O'Kelly (saxophone); Sgt. 1st Class Brian Pringle (trumpet); Sgt. 1st Class John Ellis (trombone); Master Sgt. Gunner Chambers (tuba); Sgt. James Broeker (drums); and Master Sgt. Dave Dorris (piano).

O'Kelly, a spokesperson for the group, said that Dixieland music is a form that is easy to love, even for the unfamiliar.

"You're not going to find many people around who don't like the sound of the Dixieland band," said O'Kelly. "It's the earliest style of jazz. It's really where a lot of styles were born, and a lot of great jazz musicians emerged."

Among the pieces the band will play are: "St. James Infirmary Blues," a somber, mournful Dixieland dirge; "A Closer Walk With Thee," a slow, gospel ballad; and "Washington and Lee," an up-tempo song, typical of the Dixieland jazz genre.

O'Kelly said the Army is happy to perform the concert for free, as it allows them to do outreach in the community.

"It's with our mission statement," he said. "We'll pretty much play for anybody who asks us. We're excited to introduce these kids to really good, old-fashioned music."

The concert is free, but reservations are required to attend. For more information, contact deborahteske@clayton.edu, or call (678) 466-4491.