Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series
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Colfax Cultural Center, South Bend, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Michael Cobbler, trombone; Stephen Merriman, drums

Bill Lottie, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

Mr. Bill, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration, Colfax Cultural Center, South Bend

Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Michael Cobbler, Mary Merriman, Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Mr. Bill, Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Jim Pickley, Stephen Merriman, Mary Merriman, Michael Cobbler, Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

The South Bend Jazz Collective

The mission of The South Bend Jazz Collective, through performance and education, is to build and support a vital South Bend community committed to the creation and appreciation of jazz and the related arts.

Primary members of this group are:

Stephen Merriman (Jazz drummer, Piano Technician)
Mary Merriman (Jazz Bassist)
Michael Cobbler (Jazz Educator)
Bill Lottie (Jazz Educator)
Robert Easley (Professor of Management, Mendoza College of Business)
Larry Sehy (International Partners in Mission)
Partnering with Imani Unidad, Inc.

Planned program offerings of The South Bend Jazz Collective are created through a Jazz Club collaborative of performances and education. These programs include Mr. Bill's Listen, Learn and Share Jazz Education Series, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series, and Michael Cobbler's Jazz Lecture Series. Other program possibilities include education programs for elementary through high school aged students.

Mr. Bill's Listen, Learn and Share Education Series include a history of this original music style, where and when it all began, featuring Ragtime, Big Band, BeBop, and Modern Jazz. Audiences have been given a taste of jazz with themed nights marked by cuisine from the jazz capital: St. Louis Ribs, New Orleans Gumbo, Chicago Beef Dogs and New York Pizza. Audience includes lovers of jazz and those wanting to learn more about this art form. The evening is interactive and highlights an audience microphone for group participation. Mr. Bill will also establish a resource library to support a lending library of audio and written materials on jazz, and facilitate discussion groups for specific age groups.

Merrimans’ Playhouse Jazz Performance Series has served to bring in jazz musicians from outside the South Bend area to perform with Stephen and Mary Merriman, giving local audiences a chance to experience a live jazz performance featuring artists from as far as New Orleans, and as close as Gary and Fort Wayne. Audiences have included High School students interested in jazz, local jazz musicians, and jazz lovers who appreciate the intimacy and interactivity of a live jazz performance.

Michael Cobbler's Jazz Lecture Series is a twelve part series offered weekly. Michael has also been involved with the “Scat in the Hat” series to involve elementary students in jazz. Together with Merrimans’ Playhouse, other possible programs will involve middle and high school “budding” jazz performers in master jazz classes and opportunities to perform with local or visiting musicians.

It is our intent of The South Bend Jazz Collective to establish a performance space known to touring jazz musicians who would be invited to engage in freestyle performances when they are in the area. Detroit, Chicago, Gary, Indianapolis, all have developed jazz performance venues. We would leverage their bookings to attract acts to this area, providing a venue and educated audience for the performances.

Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Michael Cobbler, Stephen Merriman, Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration


Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Brock, Emily, Robert, Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Colfax Cultural Center, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

Michael Cobbler, Mary Merriman, Colfax Cultural Center, South Bend, Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration

photos by David S. Hachen Jr. and Robert Easley 
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