The Coffman High School jazz bands are New York-bound.

The Coffman High School jazz bands are New York-bound.

The three jazz bands, including 56 students, will travel to New York City in late March to meet a jazz legend and get some pointers.

A trip to Cleveland five years ago sparked a lot of interest in jazz and band director Jeremy Bradstreet said another trip is due.

"Five years ago we went to Cleveland and what it did for us was it got kids really excited about play jazz music," he said. "We've been living off that trip for four years now."

Bradstreet, who directs Coffman's jazz bands along with Andrew Rice and Kevin Wallick, will lead the students to New York to meet jazz great Wynton Marsalis.

A 2004 Coffman graduate hooked them up.

"Jono Gasparro is Marsalis' personal assistant," Bradstreet said. "I called him up and said, 'I'd like to see about bringing the jazz band to New York City.' He has arranged for our band to perform in Lincoln Center and we're going to be given a clinic by some Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra musicians. That's kind of one of the big educational parts of it."

After a clinic with a few professional jazz musicians, the students will get to see the Wynton Marsalis concert.

"Jono said, 'Marsalis is performing; We should get you tickets.' Jono is going to have Marsalis talk to the kids after the performance," Bradstreet said. "After we see one of the greatest jazz musicians alive we will get to go back and say hello to him."

The willingness of professional jazz musicians to talk with students is one of the benefits of the field, Bradstreet said.

"The thing that I love about jazz is how that music is passed on from generation to generation. Not all art forms share the music as much as jazz musicians do," he said. "For you to say you get to meet the next pop star - you're not going to get that opportunity unless you win something. However jazz musicians are very open and always have been open."

The New York trip won't be entirely focus on music, though. A visit to the Today Show, an NBC tour, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a harbor lights cruise that goes around the Statue of Liberty are also on the agenda.

"It's designed to be, hopefully, a fantastic trip," Bradstreet said.

But the March 31 trip won't come without some work. Students are conducting candy bar and sub sales as well as a Valentine's Day dinner dance to raise funds for the trip.

The Feb. 11 dinner dance at the Embassy Suites of Dublin is a first for the jazz bands, Bradstreet said.

"We have had a couple of big performances. In the past we've shared the stage with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, but this is our first dinner dance," he said.

All three jazz bands will play at the adults-only dinner dance and the repertoire will include jazz and some rock. "I think the crowd will be a mix of all ages, so we'll hit on something for everybody," Bradstreet said.

The dinner dance is set to begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 11, with an Italian dinner buffet including chicken parmesan, vegetable lasagna, vegetable medley, pasta salad, Caesar salad, bread and dessert served at 6:30. Dancing will run from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Tickets to the dinner dance are $32 and can be purchased from any jazz band member or by contacting Kevin Wallick at 614-718-8068 or via e-mail at wallick_