The Count Basie Orchestra will perform next Thursday at Honeoye Central School, with school ensembles learning from the pros and playing sets of their own

It's one testament to the caliber of Honeoye Central School's music program that Honeoye was among schools recently recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation as "best communities for music education." Schools and districts are evaluated based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction; and this year, Honeoye was among 623 districts out of more than 13,000 evaluated to receive the honor.

Another testament: The regional and, increasingly, national professtional musicians who come to Honeoye to do master classes with the student musicians, and to perform concerts at the school with Honeoye ensembles also performing sets. In recent years, Honeoye has hosted the likes of jazz trumpeter Wayne Bergeron (heard on many film soundtracks, notably "The Incredibles"), Rochester-based Beatles tribute band Mr. Mustard, and trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis (of the famed Marsalis family of musicians, which includes brothers Wynton and Branford).

The latest pros to take the Honeoye stage — and interact with the student musicians — is The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra. Directed by Scotty Barnheart, the orchestra performs the repertoire and in the spirit of the legendary bandleader and pianist William James "Count" Basie, and has 18 Grammys to its credit. The orchestra will take the HCS auditorium stage at 7 p.m. next Thursday, April 25, in an evening of jazz also featuring performances by Honeoye's middle school and senior high jazz enaembles.

"Due to really, really positive support ... we've been able to increase the name recognition of our guest artists," said Honeoye Middle School Jazz Ensemble director Brian Wilkins, before a rehearsal session last week with the middle school ensemble in which they ran through their set for next week's performance — an eclectic collection that includes Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein."

Wilkins noted that the sudents will work with the band members in a master class prior to the start of the concert, with students getting one-on-one interaction with a professional on their instrument.

"In preparing for this event, the students gain a higher appreciation and understanding of the skills, dedication, and perseverance needed to succeed as a professional musician — qualities that can also be applied to any chosen profession within the greater community,” Wilkins stated in a prepared release about the concert.

Students who've taken part in the master classes noted how the professional musicians have taught them technical tricks of the trade and also simply provided encouragement, showing how one can dedicate themselves to pursuing excellence on their chosen instrument.

"They can work with actual professionals who do this for a living, and learn some tips and tricks from the pros," Wilkins said.

"We really learned tips and tricks," said Summer Sherman from the middle school ensemble, echoing Wilkins' term, about a previous year's master class. For instance, "We learned how to put our lips in different positions for different tones and different ranges."

Plus, noted saxophonist Cassidy Clark, "learning about how they started playing instruments — and how far they've come."

Basie, of course, is one of the towering figures in jazz, most prominently during the swing era, leading his Count Basie Orchestra for nearly five decades. His composition "One O'Clock Jump" is on the Library of Congress National Recording Registry for "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" pieces of music. Musicians that flourished under his direction include tenor sax players Lester Young and Herschel Evans, trumpeter "Sweets" Edison and guitarist Freddie Green — plus, Billie Holliday sang with Basie's group for a time. The Count has been gone for nearly 35 years, but his orchestra carries on.

Honeoye Central School is at 8528 Main St. in the hamlet of Honeoye. Tickets for the concert are $10 general admission, with children 5 and younger admitted for free. Tickets may be purchased at the door or at www.honeoye.org.

Party on

Rochester Events promoter Jeff Springut, along with Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren, this week announced the 2019 lineup for the Party in the Park summer concert series, taking place Thursdays, June 6 through August 8 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square in the city. It's always an eclectic mix, featuring rock, blues, funk, reggae and more.

Each of the concerts runs 5-10 p.m., and general admission tickets are $7. (VIP tickets to individual shows are $35, and you can get a season pass for $49.)

The lineup, including local openers, is:

June 6: Springer and the Zac Brown Tribute Band (with opener Jumbo Shrimp)

June 13: Toots and the Maytals (openers include Nobel Vibes and The Majestics)

June 20: Samantha Fish (opener: Steve Grills and the Roadmasters)

June 27: Twiddle (openers: Teagan and the Tweeds, and Andy Frasco & The U.N.)

July 11: Lettuce (openers: Jack West, and The Medicinals)

July 18: Almost Queen, a Queen tribute (openers: Josh Shapiro, and Gedeon Luke and The People)

July 25: WAR (openers: Grupo NextLevel and Brandon "Taz" Neiderauer)

Aug. 1: Aqueous (openers: Root Shock and City of the Sun)

Aug. 8: Galactic (opener: Adam Ezra Group)

New this year: In addition to enjoying the music, concert-goers get to watch young artists with the ROC Paint program working with professional mural artists to create a mural in the bowl of the park, taking place throughout the concert season.

For more details, including ticket info, check out www.rochesterevents.com.