Arkansas City native and Nashville, Tennessee-based professional percussionist Michael Sturd will make a special appearance as a guest artist with the Arkansas City High School Jazz Band.

Courtesy photo

This appearance will take place during a jazz concert at 7 p.m. April 17 in the ACHS auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

Sturd is on a short break from touring as the drummer for Lindsay Ell, the opening act for Brad Paisley’s “Life Amplified” world tour this year.

“I don’t care about being famous — there aren’t many people that can name a famous drummer in country music,” Sturd said.

He credits some of the talented instructors within the Arkansas City Public School District with his continued musical education.

“(Hans) Judd and Mr. (Chris) VanGilder, and the college music director at the time, Gary Gackstatter, were all huge influences and encouraged me to stick with music into college,” Sturd said.

Sturd not only will be a part of this concert, but he also will spend a day working with the band students at ACHS and the Arkansas City Middle School before returning to his duties in Nashville.

Judd, Santana and Slater

Sturd and the ACHS Jazz Band will be joined by a trio of Wichita-area professional jazz artists, Sage Judd, Miguel Santana and Andy Slater.

The trio of Judd, Francisco and Slater is in high demand throughout the Wichita metro area, performing regularly in a wide variety of venues.

Judd is the son of longtime ACMS band director Hans Judd, and the great-grandson of the renowned ACHS and Cowley College music director Kenneth Judd Sr.

Event underwriters

This concert is made possible by the support of the V.J Wilkins Memorial Foundation and USD 470.

Sage Judd
Courtesy photo

The concert will feature a wide range of jazz styles, including traditional big band favorites from Count Basie and Jerome Richardson, more contemporary big band charts from Gordon Goodwin and Trombone Shorty, and several standard and original small combo jazz numbers.

“The V.J. Wilkins Foundation has made it possible to do so many wonderful things that simply were not possible before,” VanGilder said.

“To be able to bring in all of these great musicians to share their expertise with our students is irreplaceable. And to be able to include one of our own, who has made it to the big time, is beyond comparison.

“Michael is a perfect example that great things can and do come from Arkansas City, Kansas.”

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