Royally good jazz to be heard


Over the years Golden High School has produced a lot of terrific musicians who went on to pretty notable professional careers. Back in about 1960 there was a young guy there who played the tuba.

At about the same time there was a new band starting up that played Traditional Jazz/Dixieland and pretty soon this young fellow found himself as a member of the band. During the 1960’s this band started making quite a name for themselves and had a steady gig at a nightclub in Lakewood. They would pack the place every night. They moved on to a club of their own in Larimer Square, and became known as a real good time jazz band that was always fun to see.

They started doing jazz festivals all around the world and eventually this young tuba player became the leader of the band and was the tuba professor at the University of Colorado Denver. He started a college traditional jazz program that was the most successful of it’s kind in the country and became known all over the world as one of the top jazz tuba players out there.

This fellow’s name is Bill Clark, and the band I am talking about is none other than the Queen City Jazz Band. For over 50 years this band has been entertaining audiences with authentic traditional jazz sounds, put out numerous recordings and is recognized internationally as one of the best of the best.

Although they aren’t playing every night at a club any more, they still keep a pretty busy schedule and one of the highlights of the summer is coming up. They will be performing in a joint concert with the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Show time is 7:30 p.m.

This concert will feature a toe tapping blend of Dixieland jazz, pop music and all-American patriotic favorites conducted by Dr. William Morse. The concert will be outdoors in the Arvada Center’s amphitheater.

The Queen City Jazz Band’s personnel has changed many times over the years, but they always manage to find great players to fill the spots and the current lineup is one of the best they have ever had. In addition to Bill Clark, there is Kevin Bollinger on trumpet, John Bredenberg on clarinet and saxophone, Eric Staffeldt on trombone, Hank Troy on piano, Rory Thomas on banjo and Tony Pantelis on drums. The band also features the amazing vocal talent of Wende Harston.

Ticket prices are $22 for Premium Covered, $18 for Covered, $10 for the GA Lawn and $5 for children on the GA lawn. You can buy tickets on line at or by calling 720-898-7200.

The Arvada Center for the Performing Arts is located at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. in Arvada. You can find out more about their events schedule on their website. You can also find out more about the Queen City Jazz band at and the Jefferson Symphony at

So get out your straw hats and parasols and make a point of going to see this show. It will bring a smile to your face, guaranteed.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multimedia production.


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