Johnstown Independent

Bigelow Park

Enjoy jazz, ribs; support Northridge jazz band

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On May 4, the smooth sounds of jazz and the smell of barbeque ribs will fill the air at Bigelow Park.

In its third year, Jazz & Ribs on the square gives the Northridge High School Jazz Band an opportunity to showcase its talent and to raise money for the Northridge Music Boosters.

"It's grown a little bit each year," band director Tyler King said. "We started doing it as a way to get out into the community. Throw food into it and it really makes for a nice day. We really look at this as community outreach so people can see what we do."

Tickets for the event, slated for 2-4 p.m. Sunday, May 4, are available online through Monday, April 28, at NorthridgeBand.org or by calling 470-251-2263. Prices are $14 for one person, $25 for two people and $48 for four people.

Route 62 Barbecue will provide a half slab of ribs, baked beans, coleslaw and cornbread. The meal includes a drink and desert.

"The best part about it is, our kids get to get up there and play and have a concert for people," boosters vice president Carrie Strong said. "This really gives us a chance to purchase different instruments to use in the classroom or marching band. We're always concerned about funds in this day and age."

Two days after the concert, district voters will decide the fate of a renewal operating levy on the May 6 ballot. Money generated from the five-year, 8.8-mill levy for emergency requirements would provide about $2.1 million of the district's $12 million annual budget. School leaders have emphasized the levy does not represent a new tax.

"It's an important issue for us in the district, and we're doing a little bit of outreach with this concert," King said. "I've invited an administrator to speak. It's important to get the message out that there is a need. We want the community to see what we're all about."

Northridge has made $4 million in reductions over the past two years to maintain a lean budget while maintaining programs and services that help students become college- and career-ready," Superintendent Chris Briggs told ThisWeek in March.

In June 2013, Northridge was removed from fiscal caution by the Ohio Department of Education.

The renewal levy, if approved, would continue to cost homeowners $269.50 annually per $100,000 of assessed property value, according to the Licking County Auditor's Office.

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