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TRUMPETER FERGUSON TO PLAY TONIGHT IN FUND-RAISER

Famed jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson's "It's My Time" recording is about to take on a new meaning for 12 North Collins music students as they prepare to host Ferguson and the Big Bop Nouveau at 7:30 p.m. today in the high school auditorium.

Ferguson, a three-time Grammy nominee and big-band leader internationally known for wearing many musical hats, will play to help raise funds for the district's band.

The district's current music budget of $10,800 supports materials, music, instruments, instrument repairs and travel for 384 students in the general music programs.

North Collins band director Jill Dueringer organized the concert and said Ferguson will hit center stage following a special opening by the district's jazz ensemble students. Tenth-grader Corynn Weisedel will be the lead tenor saxophonist.

"If I get a chance to say anything to him, I will tell him I will always remember this," Weisedel said. "Having a famous trumpet player is like a once-in-a-lifetime experience I would never want to miss."

Like Ferguson and the others in the North Collins jazz ensemble, Weisedel has made music the center of her life and plans to pursue it in college.

"This is the first time a show of this magnitude will take place in North Collins. It's amazing that a world-renowned musician is coming here to give our students the opportunity to see where they can take the skills they learned here, and I hope it proves how valuable the music program is to the curriculum," Dueringer said. "But I think the bigger thing to see is the young musicians that travel with Ferguson, because I tell my students that could be them someday."

Along with playing the trumpet, Ferguson is also an instrument designer, record producer and composer. He has recorded more than 60 albums, with some of his best-known work being the motion picture recordings "Maria" from West Side Story and the Rocky theme song "Gonna Fly Now."

Tickets for tonight's show in the high school, 2045 School St., are $22.50.

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