Submitted photo

Members of the community join members of the Chatfield Brass Band Jazz Combo for the annual Western Days Friday Night Jam in the City Park band shell.
Submitted photo Members of the community join members of the Chatfield Brass Band Jazz Combo for the annual Western Days Friday Night Jam in the City Park band shell.


People visiting Chatfield, nicknamed Bandtown U.S.A., on Western Days weekend will be able to enjoy a musical at Potter Auditorium. Chatfield Brass Band (CBB) member Steve Strange feels there should be even more music available this weekend.

“There should be something musical going on for those people coming to the musical, those who are going on another night and those who just want to spend an hour listening to the music being provided for the occasion of Western Days,” said Strange, organizer of the annual Western Days Friday Night Jam taking place in the band shell in City Park on Friday, Aug. 12.

He issued an invitation to members of the community, from both near and far, to jump into the fun of performing live in combination with other musicians, improvising from the first note to the very last.

“As in past years, we will have the CBB Jazz Combo as the house band to provide the starting point for the evening,” Strange explained. “We expect several participants from prior years, including singer Donald Johnson, blues musician Don Scott, violinist Susan Gossman and singer and guitarist Chuck Dolder. Singer and guitarist Emily Whitcomb has sent word that she plans to attend. As the word spreads, we hope there are other musicians from the area who will join us for the evening as well.”

Strange outlined that the jam session’s repertoire will include songs from Broadway musicals, some old-time music, good blues, swing music from the 1940s, folk music and some original indie rock creations. In honor of the class of 1966, there will be some rock from that year, and perhaps a bit more from the ‘60s era.

“At this time, the only ‘group’ we can say for sure will be there is the ‘Elderly Brothers,’” said Strange. “Not to be confused with the Everly Brothers, Chuck Dolder and I, his cousin, are celebrating our 70th birthdays this year, so look for an appropriate song from us.”

Since the jam is meant to be impromptu, it draws a wide range of performances and people who share their talents.

“The nice thing about the Friday Night Jam is the audience is very cordial. Musicians with limited performance experience have been very pleased with the welcome they received,” noted Strange. “As a result, we’ve had performers as young as 5 years and others as old as 85 years who have enjoyed the opportunity to play, and singing along is always acceptable, and dancing on the grass is particularly encouraged.”

The jam is happening, rain or shine, in the band shell. Carmen Narveson does lots of support work for the jam, noted Strange. “Like many musical things in Chatfield, it wouldn’t happen without her,” he added.

Strange also hopes that there will be a hearty audience to hear the good tunes. Some of the musicians travel quite a distance in order to join the jam, and their “only payment is the applause,” he said. “Even if they only travel from the edge of Chatfield, we’d like to reward the musicians with a park full of listeners. We want to give everyone a chance to play, so if the band shell isn’t scheduled past 8 p.m., we can keep going. We’ve learned from the past, though, that the posterior wears out at about two hours, so we’ll wrap it up by then, for sure.”

Strange invited anyone and everyone who’s got a thing for jams to join the fun on Friday, Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m. in Chatfield’s City Park.

“I’d love to hear from anyone planning to come, just to know how many chairs to set up and what kind of music to anticipate, but registration is not needed,” he said. “Chairs are provided, but musicians should bring their own instruments. Pianists or those needing special sound system support should contact me to be sure we can meet their needs. If you decide at the last minute to come to the jam, grab your washboard or harmonica, your fiddle or your tuba, and come on down. Come to play, or come to listen, but plan to come and plan to have a good time.”

For more information, to ask him for assistance with providing a piano or other accommodations, or to let him know that one is coming to the jam, call 507-285-1511 or e-mail stevegstrange@gmail.com.