Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra at the Avalon

"There's a lot of love going around," says Corren Hileman, lead trumpet player and band leader for the Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra. "I feel really fortunate for these musicians that I have around me."

The 15-piece big band, which includes Hileman, trumpet players Rich Agee and Pat DeBellis, trombone players Tim Kasdorf, Gary Nelson and Eric McKee, saxophone players Daniel Chavez, Brendan Girard, Marla Kasdorf, Phil Michael and Frank Kenny, drummer Hal Davis, bassist David Miller, vocalist and pianist Alan Berman and vocalist Dianne Strong, will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, March 31, at Avalon Bar & Grill, 105 W. Valley Road, Talent.

Hileman played in various jazz bands in the Monterey, Calif., area throughout the '90s, founding SRO Big Band in 1998. He and his wife retired from their professional careers in 2007 and moved up to Ashland. Hileman still had everything he needed to start another big band — except musicians.

"I connected with Rogue Community College and met a lot of musicians," Hileman says.

Hileman started SOJO in April 2008.

The band plays two different styles of sets, a mix of swing, Latin and classic big-band songs and a ballroom set featuring waltzes and rumbas.

For Monday's show, the group will perform the former.

"We really like that style of music from the '30s and '40s," Hileman says. "We like the music of Glen Miller and Count Basie."

Monday's show is one of two benefits for local pianist and music teacher Kathy Campbell. Campbell was diagnosed with ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig's disease — and has been accepted into an experimental treatment program at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic. All proceeds from the shows will help Campbell with her treatment and associated expenses.

"It's really great of the Avalon to have given up the space to get in as many people in as possible," Hileman says. "We're going to have a lot of soloists and vocalists sitting in with us. It's going to be a tight squeeze."

In addition to Campbell, who will perform with the group, soloists will include trumpet players Ron Lopes and Joe Fascilla and baritone saxophone player Daryl Fjeldheim. However, Hileman believes that more will perform.

"Kathy knows a lot of people," Hileman says. "I'm sure there will be many others showing up to play or even just listen."

There is a $10 minimum donation for admission to the concert. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Avalon Bar & Grill at 541-535-6677 or emailing

The Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra performs its ballroom set from 7 to 9 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month — the next performance will take place April 15 — at the Imperial Event Center, 40 N. Front St., Medford.

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