Promotional image via the Performing Arts Society

Promotional image via the Performing Arts Society

Saturday concert puts jazz, attitude on stage

Lohmeyer is a former local music teacher

To close out the Performing Arts Society’s 2022-2023 season, jazz will be showcased Saturday. A jazz concert by “Aaron Lohmeyer and Friends” will be held at the Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Elaine Larson, a member of the society board, said that Lohmeyer is a former local music teacher, who taught at Soldotna Elementary and Soldotna Montessori around 10 years ago.

Many will remember Lohmeyer for his “fantastic” saxophone solo in a production of “Peter Pan” by the Kenai Performers, she said.

A concert featuring Lohmeyer was originally planned by the society for March 2020 — delayed three years by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Lohmeyer said he was most excited to get the opportunity to reconnect with the local musicians joining him on stage.

“It’s a bit of a reunion concert,” he said.

In the first half, he’ll be joined by Maria Allison, for what he described as a more classical oriented repertoire. Lohmeyer said it will be classical, but that jazz is about challenging boundaries; they’ll be using electronics, they’ll be improvising, they’ll even perform one piece with a pop sensibility.

In the second half, he’ll be part of a jazz quintet, joined by vocalist ​​Linnéa Hollingsworth and bass guitarist Daryl Hollingsworth from Seward, as well as drums and trombone.

Performing jazz with electronics is something that Lohmeyer said is a major focus of his work right now — something he will be sharing in visits to local schools this week.

Using technology in his music is something that wasn’t being done when he taught locally 10 years ago, Lohmeyer said. He described it as something that makes music accessible, engaging students in creation in a contemporary way that grabs their attention.

He said he uses electronics to change his “jazz language,” but that it is still jazz. This weekend, he’ll use live looping and a backing track in one song.

“It’s a sound, it’s a timbre, it’s an attitude,” he said. “That’s what still makes jazz unique.”

Larson said that jazz is “our truly American music.” Having Lohmeyer visiting local schools and showing students what he does is “powerful,” she said. As a music teacher himself, she said he was uniquely suited to connect with them.

“I can show examples on YouTube until I’m blue in the face,” she said. “We want to see the musicians, hopefully open their eyes.”

In the first rehearsal ahead of this weekend’s show, Lohmeyer said he’s going to ask the group “what should we do?

A concert put on by the society last month sold out, Larson said, so she encouraged those interested in attending Saturday’s show to purchase tickets in advance.

Tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for students, and can be purchased at River City Books, Northcountry Fair, Curtain Call Consignment, Already Read and Country Liquor. If room remains, they will be sold at the door.

Aaron Lohmeyer and Friends will perform on Saturday at the Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna starting at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit facebook.com/theperformingartssociety or performingartssociety.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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