Column: Check out the Bloomington Jazz Orchestra!

On Friday evening, the Bloomington Jazz Orchestra delivered an hour’s worth of music from the edge of the Monroe County Public Library’s parking lot in downtown Bloomington.

Bloomington Jazz Orchestra (Aug. 12, 2022)

I counted more than 50 people in the crowd. Many had brought lawn chairs because they’d seen the advertising for the event, while some had just stumbled across the free concert like I had.

If the parking lot had a roof, the 19-piece ensemble would have blown it off the place. Some people got out of their seats to dance.

I don’t know anything about music, especially not jazz music, but I can tell when musicians are good and when they’re not, and BJO is really good.

If you see BJO on a future event listing, mark your calendar to go.

The orchestra is led by Janis Stockhouse, who retired as Bloomington High School North’s band director in spring of 2019.

Stockhouse earned her music education degree at Indiana University. She satisfied her student teaching requirement during the 1976-77 school year at Northside Junior High School in Columbus, Indiana.

During that student teaching stint, she taught the brass section of beginning band, among other classes. She had the credentials to teach brass, because she was a trumpet player herself, one of the first group of women who were allowed to join the Indiana University Marching Hundred.

That’s a fact that I knew without looking it up, because that’s the way she was introduced to me and the other 7th graders at Northside that year, who were trying to learn to play instruments like trombone, tuba, baritone and trumpet. With Stockhouse’s guidance, I played the trumpet a little less badly than before.

Photos: Bloomington Jazz Orchestra  (Aug. 12, 2022)