A jazzed-up birthday

Cheryl Thurston and Gary Church play at Palo Verde.

What makes the May Arizona Classic Jazz Society’s monthly event even more special than usual? We’ll be celebrating the birthday of our beloved Cheryl Thurston. Cheryl is a Sun Lakes resident and will be celebrating her birthday by entertaining with her Mardi Gras Jazz Band on Sunday, May 15.

New Orleans songs and music will be featured as well as a guest appearance by clarinetist Pieter Meijers from Los Angeles. Pieter is the leader of one of the most cherished Trad bands, High Sierra Jazz Band, and has spread his music around the world. He brings a great sense of humor to the stage as well as his brilliance on reeds.

Cheryl is a multi-talented musician who started cornet lessons at age four after her father gave her a Wild Bill Davidson cornet. She played trumpet in school bands from elementary through high school, toured Europe at age 16 with the American Youth Symphony and played in a stage band at Kent State. Piano lessons started at age six and her first professional piano gig occurred accidentally at age 14 when she replaced a piano player who didn’t show up. Cheryl is also the pianist for the popular 52nd Street Jazz Band.

The cost for Cheryl’s birthday celebration is $10 ACJS members; $15 non-members (become a member on the 15th and get in free; yearly membership $35 couple, single $25). Listen, dance and enjoy all the fun as it takes place from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, Chandler. For more information go to www.azclassicjazz.org or call 480-620-3941.