Hometown boy Mark Stutzman and son Ryan Stutzman, some hot trombones from up north and a euphornium and David Herzog, drummer from Rocky Ford and former voice of KAVI Radio, made for a jazzy evening at Otero Junior College on Saturday night. This group, which practices for the sheer joy of making music together, has been playing for 20 years, and this was their 500th performance.

The Jeffco Brass, an all- amateur ensemble from Jefferson County, sports three key members from the Arkansas Valley: Mark Stutzman, his son Ryan and David Herzog. True, Ryan is a band director, and so are several other members of the Jeffco Brass, notably in the trombone section. Bob Hurrell served as master of ceremonies.

They have played in churches, in magnificent basilicas in Venice, Assisi, Florence and Rome. They performed the opening act for the opening night of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver in 2005. They have played for 10,000 at the Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheater and have performed for one at birthday celebrations.

They opened with “Belle of Chicago March.” The MC for the group, trombonist xxx, said this is a Sousa march, but drew a lot of criticism from the press at its debut, who found it very unfeminine - a long-striding, deep-voiced girl. Their second number was a great contrast, the “Gaudeamus Igitur,” which is religious in intent, translation “So let us rejoice,” but which has also been played as a drinking song. It was followed by “The Earl of Oxford’s March” celebrates the 17th Earl of Oxford, thought by many to be the real identity of William Shakespeare.

And so it went for the first half with more of a classical bent, but ending with a taste of the second half with “When the Saints Go Marching In.” After intermission, “Basin Street Blues” introduced the jazzy second half, followed by “Any Dream Will Do,” from “Joseph and the Amazing Tehnicolor Dream Coat,” a favorite of La Junta audiences featuring David XXX in the Picketwire Production.

“Ghost Riders in the Sky” made a great medley with “Soul Man” from Blues Brothers, the favorite movie of many more than one audience member. It was preceded by “Besame Mucho” by Consuelo Velasquez, which is the international most played number  of bands throughout the world - did you know that? The most interesting fact, though, is that it originated in a 1944 movie featuring Dale Evans.

“Jump, Jive and Wail” from Louis Prima preceded “Zoot Suit Riot,” which preceded “Sweet Caroline” with audience partiipation, led by conductor Amy Woodley. When the band all stood up for a bow, the audience turned the tables on them by standing up, too, earning a couple of bonus numbers and ending with a rousing “Tiger Rag.”

The Arkansas Valley fans finally let the Jeffco Brass go when the leader confessed, “Our chops are shot.”