Handling a 17-member band can seem like a daunting task, but for Sammie King, having common ground with music makes it a little easier.

"It's difficult at times. Trying to get everyone together at the same time doesn't work that well when you have that many people. It doesn't seem to be a big hindrance. When you have something in common like music, it makes it a lot easier to bridge the communication," King said.

The InsideOut Jazz Band band will perform again this year as part of the Cool Yule show at the McPherson Opera House. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the opera house, located at 219 S. Main St. in McPherson.

While others may see this as just another performance, the band sees it as a way to give back to the opera house by doing what they love — playing jazz.

"We get a pretty good crowd when we do it. I like being able to provide any kind of help we can for them. It's a small venue and intimate, and they have enough funding that brings in acts from all over to do different things, its just a nice place," King said.

The proceeds from the band's event goes toward the opera house's operating expenses and tickets are $20, which includes the preservation fee.

"Sammie’s, Michele’s, and the other band members’ willingness to perform for the benefit of the opera house year after year is testament to their acknowledging the positive impact the opera house has on our community, while also recognizing its financial needs,” said Dianne Fallis, business director of the opera house. “Funds from the shows ticket sales help offset some regular operating expenses. This type of acknowledgment and contribution is immeasurable. The opera house is sincerely grateful for their support.”

Fallis said the opera house enjoys featuring the band during the holiday season.

“We love that this performance takes place at a time of year when people are drawn together to celebrate and give thanks. It’s a night of great music and bringing people together in the spirit of the season,” Fallis said.

Performing at the opera house is important to King and his band, as it gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their skill.

“Some people that go to the opera house wouldn’t hear us anywhere else. We do some festivals and some outside things, but it gives us a little bit of a chance to showcase ourselves,” King explained.

This year, the band is doing things a little differently and will perform the whole show themselves, along with adding a different vocalist to the stage.

“Our youngest daughter is going to be singing one song with us, but my wife will be doing most of the vocals,” King explained. “It’s kind of neat because me and my wife, Michele, have been playing together in different bands since 1984 or 1983. But my daughter is involved in our church band, but as far as singing jazz, she hasn’t done that yet.”

King’s daughter, will be singing “A Touch of Your Love” alongside the band and his wife will be singing jazz songs and traditional Christmas songs.

King said they like to focus on jazz music more than traditional Christmas music.

“We will be doing Christmas songs, since there’s a lot of people that don’t get to hear us very much, so we go ahead and do songs like “Take the A Train” and then we do Christmas songs about every three or four songs. We will do Charlie Brown Christmas songs again this year,” he explained.

Jazz music runs deep in King’s veins. He has performed jazz with Michele for more than six years now and started by playing in several different shows at the opera house.

After realizing this is what they loved to do, the pair started to form a band.

“We would just run around the community and pick up people we knew could play and we would do themed shows. We started off doing that kind of stuff and it kept getting more and more involved and finally we had a big band and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do a Christmas show.’ So we went on from there,” King laughed.

To purchase tickets, call 620-241-1952, visit http://mcphersonoperahouse.org or stop by the box office at 219 S. Main St. in McPherson. 

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.