As the International Jazz Day, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was celebrated in this year's host city of Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday, the Neosho Civic also played host to a jazz celebration.
However, the Neosho event celebrated more than the music Tuesday, as the Evening of Jazz, sponsored by Crowder College, was a night of opportunities for local students.
While proceeds from the event go toward funding Crowder student scholarships, high school students from Neosho and McDonald County were also given the chance to perform their musical talents in front of a large audience, and open for the Crowder Jazz Orchestra.
"This is our first jazz performance of the entire year," said McDonald County band instructor Laurie Kinder-Lang. "We've been marching band and concert band, so now we finally get to show off our jazz band a little bit. We are so grateful to have this opportunity that Crowder provides."
The McDonald County jazz band performed hits including "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Hey Jude."
The Neosho High School Jazz Band also performed, kicking off the evening of music.
Joseph Heflin, a junior at Neosho High School, plays drums in the jazz band, and said he enjoyed the opportunity to play a kind of music the audience could appreciate.
"I like feeling how people appreciate jazz," Heflin said. "I like it because it's not the same thing you hear now-a-days, because everything you hear now is just made up from a computer and jazz takes talent."
Kinder-Lang said her students from McDonald County practiced for about a month to prepare for Tuesday's show, and said they were pleased with the audience they were able to perform for.
"We have a good audience out there that's got some culture and some taste," Kinder-Lang said. "They know fine music whenever they hear it."
Headlining Tuesday evening's event was the Crowder Jazz Orchestra, led by Todd Hastings.
The orchestra welcomed special guests, including vocalist Rebecca Luebber, whose performances included a ballad, "How Do You Keep the Music Playing," performed with Crowder's own Robert Ensor on the keyboard.
In its fourth year now, Crowder's Evening of Jazz drew a crowd of more than 200 people on Tuesday.
Samantha Evans, events coordinator for Crowder Foundation, said the foundation sold more tables this year than last.
She said the event, though a fundraiser similar to other Foundation events, such as the Festival of Wreaths, offers something different to donors than the other fundraisers.
"It gives us a chance to mingle with our guests in a way that we don't get to at our other fundraisers and gives them a chance to mingle with each other and celebrate each other and generosity," Evans said. "Although they pay for their tickets, I think they feel like it's a treat for them to come out and reward themselves."
Page 2 of 2 - The students benefiting from the funds raised at Tuesday's event were also on hand to do their part, as several student athletes and scholarship recipients could be seen assisting with the event.
Tuesday's Evening of Jazz was held in conjunction with the Neosho Arts Council's 10-day Herman Jaeger Festival, which kicked off on Friday, April 26 and runs through Sunday.
The festival included a three-day "En Plein Air" painting competition, which wrapped up Tuesday.
The paintings were on display at the Evening of Jazz, and winners were announced at the intermission.
Jeffrey Jones took first place with his "Field Puddle" painting, while Mike McClure took second with "Big Spring Buddies", and Larry DeGraff earned third place with " Spring on Hickory Creek."
Also recognized with merit awards were Patti Beavers' "Shadows of Spring", MM Kent's "Hickory Creek", and Becky Golubski's "Spirit of 104 Spring Hill."