Cornet Chop Suey

An evening filled with energetic and entertaining music

CLARKSVILLE—It’s sometimes hard to believe that in a quiet little town such as Clarksville there sits a venue for the arts that was once an apple-processing factory.

A new floor, a new stage and a host of other upgrades have turned the building into a wonderful place for various events, such as Applefest. Saturday night, the twinkling lights strung from the support beams only served to highlight the music that was about to fill the large space.

The Raintree Arts Council hosted the event, bringing in the ensemble, Cornet Chop Suey, a band of extremely talented musicians who perform traditional jazz, swing music and blues, as well as production numbers.

According to the council, the band has played around the world.

Brent Engel, who is on the council, said the arts council is looking to upgrade the building’s sound system, so that it can encompass the entire area that houses the stage.

“We have the guy to do it,” he said, “Rob Brown from DJ-Deviation. But it’s like buying lumber—trying to find the right electronic components is difficult.

Council Vice President Mary Lang Fournier welcomed everyone for an evening special entertainment. She also mentioned some of the programs and events coming to the Appleshed—Oct. 9-10 is when the Applefest will take place, and on Oct. 30, the council is hosting a costume ball with Sentimental Journey, an 18-piece orchestra.

“It will be a lot of fun,” she said. For next year, they are planning on putting on the musical, “9 to 5,” and they have a murder mystery dinner theater in the works. For those who enjoyed this year’s performance of “Romeo and Juliet,” Fournier said they will have more Shakespeare coming up. “And coming back by popular demand is Debbie Ingram’s “Country Legend Review.”

And speaking of Debbie Ingram, Fournier introduced her as the first performer of the evening.

“As an appetizer, we’d like to bring you the singing styling of Miss Debbie Ingram,” Fournier said.

Ingram opened with “You never can tell,” a song written by Chuck Berry. Her clear, strong voice and popular favorites delighted the audience. But it was the final song, her rendition of the Patsy Cline song, “Crazy,” that brought them to their feet. It felt as though she was channeling Cline when she sang.

Cornet Chop Suey took their band name from a 1925 Louis Armstrong tune.

They opened with a rousing rendition of “Ain’t nobody here but us chickens.”

There are currently six members in the group, and each one a top-notch performer. They had a sound that would be at home on the streets of New Orleans when they played their jazz and blues.

When they did the Fats Domino version of “Blueberry Hill,” their vocal talents became evident. Jerry Epperson, who plays the saxophone and clarinet, is a Clarksville native.

The audience enjoyed the music so much that some of them took the floor for a little dancing.

There were smiles all around as they played “I Want to be Just Like You,” which they called the monkey song from the Disney movie “The Jungle Book.”

After their break, the band came back with the theme music from the movie “Star Wars,” and then threw in a little of the alien band music from the Mos Eisley Cantina scene.

They finished their second set with some strong jazz tunes, promising to come back again to the Appleshed. They let the audience know, that if they wanted to hear more, the band would be playing the next night in St. Louis at BB’s Blues and Soups.

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