A Ticket to Addison Is a Ticket to Great Jazz

Visitors to Addison expect to find good barbeque restaurants in that city. After all, Addison is in the State of Texas. Many visitors, however, are surprised to find references to some of the jazz greats at the University of North Texas, a university in Addison. If those visitors do some research, they will learn that many jazz musicians have heard of the Jazz Festival in Addison, Texas.

Back in the late 1940's, a period of time well before the initiation of the annual North Texas Jazz Festival, a Marine from Pennsylvania traveled down to Dallas County. As he drove past the small town 13 miles north of downtown Dallas, he no doubt drove past some of the residents of Addison, Texas. That band leader-turned Marine did not then know that many young band leaders would later pray for a reason to go to Addison.

For six years now, Addison has been the site of the Annual North Texas Jazz Festival. The Festival benefits from having two sponsors-- the City of Addison and the University of North Texas. Each year the sponsors select a group that sorts through all of the applications from jazz groups at middle schools, high schools, community colleges, colleges and universities across the United States.

That selection determines what jazz groups will enjoy the privilege of getting an invitation to come to the Jazz Festival. The jazz bands selected get much more than just a reason to plan a trip to Addison. In addition, they get a chance to perform at the Jazz Festival, and an opportunity to attend a jazz clinic, a clinic given by one of the faculty members at the University.

The best musicians at the Festival get an added thrill. The outstanding soloists have a chance to perform with professional musicians, who have also come to the Festival.  For example, in 2006, selected jazz musicians got to perform next to either the Roy Hargrove Quintet or the Yellowjackets.

While the Jazz Festival brings large numbers of visitors to Addison, it is not the City's only source of entertainment. The Watertower Theater can be found in Addison. It is the only theater in the northern area of Dallas County. It provides the public with five seasonal productions and two holiday productions. Local families often have their children attend the Theater's musical theater camp.

Both jazz lovers and theater lovers will find a warm welcome in Addison. This Texas town has 22 motels, 170 restaurants and a rich source of gifts for friends and relatives back home. Many adult visitors purchase a gift from the Addison Beverage Center, a source of fine adult beverages.

Few visitors to Addison leave with a purchase as large as the one made by that visiting Marine in the late 1940's. That gentleman, a trumpet player once known as Bunny Hershner, came to Dallas County to secure a mode of transportation. He had looked all over Pennsylvania for a car, but he had failed to find one that was for sale. He had finally learned about a car owner in Texas, an owner who was looking for a buyer.

That discovery had caused that Marine, a man just back from the South Pacific, to travel to the area around Addison, Texas. That discovery had launched Major Hershner's journey to the future site of a famous Jazz Festival. That discovery had caused him to pass the spot where future trumpet players would fill the air around Addison with jazzy and scintillating tunes.

Maybe some of the tunes that were heard at the 2006 Festival had once been performed by the young Bunny Hershner.

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