The Cakewalkin' Jass Band will present an afternoon of New Orleans style jazz, blues, and gospel at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20, in the Great Room at First Presbyterian Church, 2330 S. Main St., Findlay. The concert, the final in the church's 32nd Concert Series, is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be received.
A Toledo institution, the Cakewalkin' Jass Band was organized in 1967. After playing three short night club jobs and one wedding, the band opened at Tony Packo's Cafe in 1968.
In 1980, the Cakewalkin' Jass Band began a new era in Toledo by opening at Lulu's Storyville Saloon in Old Towne at Southwyck Mall.
The band then returned to Tony Packo's in 1981 and continued to play there until 2002. Today, the group regularly plays concerts and at establishments in the Toledo area, as well as throughout Ohio and Michigan.
In addition, the band has produced seven albums on its own "Spittune" label and has been featured in magazines such as Jazzologist and The Mississipi Rag.
The Cakewalkin' Jass Band has played for many prestigious jazz clubs including Detroit Hot Jazz Society; the Indianapolis Jazz Club; the Classic Jazz Society of Southwestern Ohio; the Charleston (West Virginia) Jazz Club; the Potomac River Jazz Club; the Detroit Windsor Jazz Club; the Vintage Jazz Club of Muskegon, Michigan; the Illiana Jazz Club; the Tack Room in Illiopolis, Illinois; and Earlyjas in Kent, Ohio.
The Band was one of 15 bands to participate in the World Championship of Jazz held in Indianapolis and the Band's founder, Ray Heitger, was selected as one of the six outstanding musicians at the Festival. The group has also appeared at many other jazz festivals throughout the country in Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado and California.
Starting out as a four piece group with banjo, drums, piano, and clarinet, the band expanded to its current size, consisting of the following members: Ray Heitger - clarinet, soprano saxophone, vocals; Dave Kosmyna - cornet, vocals; Russ Damschroder - trombone; Betsy Grafing - banjo; Jim Fagnano - drums; Rick Grafing - piano; Bob Miller - string bass; and Nicole Heitger - vocals.
For additional information regarding the First Presbyterian Church Concert Series, contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org.