Special to the Sentinel

Mac Jazz will perform an annual jam session at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the McPherson Opera House. Mac Jazz musicians have been coming together at the Opera House for the last several years as a benefit for the theatre. 

Some of the band members who perform have changed year-to-year, and this year the performers include Gary Casebeer, Mark Casebeer, Steve Kail, Guy Cunnimgham, Ralph Brown, Jim Keefer, and friends Benny Watson and Jeremy Hanna. Most all of the musicians are or were members of King Midas, The Avontes, Jazz Associates, and The Dave Kubin quartet, but many friends have also joined in. 

“We’re honored to have these musicians playing here, and grateful for their wanting to perform for the benefit of the Opera House. It will be such a fun time and a great kick-off to our live performance season,” said Executive Director, Diane Fallis. “We want everyone to come out and help us celebrate the Opera House and these talented local legends.”

The reuniting all started in 2014 when former students of Bryce Luty, who taught at McPherson High School for 13 years and then headed up the Jazz Studies Program at Hutchinson Community College, decided to perform a concert in his honor. Luty was supposed to be one of performers but, before the performance date, discovered he had cancer and died weeks later. The occasion created the concept of an annual reunion concert of old McPherson High School 60’s and 70’s musicians and their musician friends (“Mac Jazz”) and pay tribute to the memory of their friend and mentor. Gary Casebeer remarks that there have been an unusual number of professional musicians that have come from this area of Kansas because of music educators like Bryce Luty.

The show is free, although a free will donation is encouraged. The band will be performing two 45-minute sets. Seating is open, with no tickets required. Doors, bar, and concessions open at 6 p.m.; the theatre opens at 6:30 pm.