The main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library was a place to make noise Saturday, with jazz performances and an activity for children to make some music at the third annual local event to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month.
The smooth sounds of 13 local jazz acts wafted throughout the library stacks beginning at noon yesterday.
The genre is based heavily on improvisation, though jazz musicians will often build a piece around an old standard tune.
Among the first performers was Clifford Murphy, 78, who plucked the bass and performed with his group, The Murphys.
He said he hopes the event will "keep jazz in the minds of everybody." He is co-owner of the downtown jazz bar of the same name, and said the genre consistently attracts new, young listeners who discover it during school classes or activities.
Though he first picked up a bass in 1947, Mr. Murphy said his craft is still evolving.
"I think it is a learning thing for me, and I will never stop learning," he said. "There are so many ways to tell a story."
Leroy Edwards performed with the Indiana Baptist Church choir at the start of the event but stuck around to take in the other acts.
"It's a great thing for the city, the community," Mr. Edwards said.
"People can come out and see what Toledo has to offer, all the talent that we have."
Nearly 1,885 people attended the event, which concluded at 5 p.m.
Michael Schaefer, 62, of Maumee is a jazz musician himself who came to watch the performers. His group, The Gay Galvin Trio, performs weekly at the SouthBriar Restaurant's lounge in Sylvania.
He said he enjoyed hearing different versions of his favorite jazz classics.
"You have a standard song that would be written by somebody amazing, and other jazz musicians built something around it that is totally different," Mr. Schaefer said. "It's fascinating how people interpret the same song."
Upstairs in the children's room, youngsters created a cacophony of chaotic rhythms as they experimented with various percussion instruments. The activity, dubbed "Bang a Drum," allowed little ones to get behind an electronic drum kit, snare drums, xylophone, djembe drums, maracas, and egg shakers.
Jake Jones, 40, a graphic designer in the library's marketing department, led the activity and prompted children to exchange instruments every few minutes. He stood beside his own set of electronic drums as 3-year-old Sabina Bielski of Waterville produced a karate-style "hi-ya" sound when her drumstick struck the cymbal. She looked up at him and smiled at the sound effect.
"That's funny, huh," Mr. Jones said to the toddler.
The children seemed to enjoy the activity, Mr. Jones said.
"It's fun to watch. Some kids are super shy, and they start hitting the drums and getting some sound out of it and their eyes light up," he said. "It's a good time. They all want to play."
Chanelle Fisher, 6, of Toledo was shy around adults in the room but bit her bottom lip and threw her drumsticks onto the snare drum as fast as she could. "It was fun," she said afterward.
Her cousin, Tanasia Fisher, 11, of Toledo said she liked the electronic drums the best of the instruments she tried.
"I like that one because it's got different kinds of sounds," Tanasia said. "It makes jazz."
Lonna Lowe of Temperance smiled as she watched her three grandchildren rock out with the various instruments.
Abby Lowe, 2, of Sylvania held the maracas high above her head and shook her whole body to make noise with the shakers, as Jacob, 7, pounded on the drum kit. Grace, 4, bent her knees and bounced along with the rhythm she created with the egg shakers.
"I liked playing drums because we played music," Grace said after the jam session.
Mrs. Lowe, a longtime jazz lover, said she was pleased her grandchildren had fun making music.
"This is just darling," Mrs. Lowe said. "What a great idea."
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