All About the Thornapple Jazz Orchestra 

The Thornapple Jazz Orchestra (TJO) was established in 1987 by then band director at Hastings High School, Joe LaJoye.   The ensemble which originally was called Les Jazz, was comprised of community members with an interest in performing music rooted in the Big Band Jazz genre.  Over the years of the groups history they have added members to include regional instrumentalists as well.

TJO includes a vast repertoire of literature to include vintage big band music as well as music for the contemporary big band.  This full compliment ensemble of five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, piano, bass, drums, and singer, can be heard on any given performance performing arrangements from the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, and the list goes on.

Members of the group include:  Craig Holley, Judy Martin, Joan Schroeder, Carol Svhil, Jeff Kaczmarczyk, Nick Biesbrock, and Jerry Mueller on Sax.  Doug Acker, Bob Evans, Rich Moore, Mike Smith, Troy Macqueen on Trumpet, Steve Hoke, Lynn McConnell, Jeff Buehl, Scott Evans, Don Myers, Ray Rickert, Craig Schroeder on Trombone, Forrest Evans on Piano, Don Cheeseman and Steve Evans on Bass, and Bob Ruthven on drums.

Performances include frequent appearances at the County Seat Restaurant, Fall Creek Restaurant, Walldorff Brewpub, as well as the Middle Villa Inn.  Numerous community events such as Summerfest, Fridays at the Fountain, and Art Hops.  The band has been a big hit as they have performed each year at the Thornapple Arts Council annual jazz festival.

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