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Delta State and Cleveland to Honor WWII Vets with Jazz Big Band Performance March 4 at the Cleveland Country Club

CLEVELAND, Miss.— On Saturday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m., Delta State’s Jazz Big Band will perform at the Cleveland Country Club for an evening of jazz and dancing honoring Bolivar County natives who fought overseas during World War II.

The Delta State Big Band has hosted an old-fashioned dinner/dance for 15 years as its one and only fundraiser. It has been quite a hit with the local public, yearly averaging from 75 to 150 patrons. The band is made up of DSU’s finest musicians led by Dr. Bret Pimentel with a few choice alumni joining in. Student tickets are free, and the Club offers a hamburger plate. Faculty and friends are encouraged to come, and reservations are a must. Tickets are $20 (supper not included).

Some 80 years ago, Allied forces were rolling up Nazis in North Africa. Rosedale native Joe Barnes (recently deceased) was in the thick of the fighting, and after it ended in May of 1943, he was sent to fight on the Italian peninsula and was seriously wounded.

Cleveland native Joe Aguzzi was a soldier in the Army, sent into France after Normandy. He was active in fighting in the “hedgerow” areas and was wounded as well.

Nevin Sledge, also from Cleveland, was on the other side of the world from his neighbors as a Captain in the Marine Corps. Sledge was an aviator and flew from China to the West Coast of the U.S. and dozens of islands in between.

These men will be honored at Delta State’s annual Big Band Dinner Dance. The Club will be decked out in WWII posters and memorabilia as the band plays the music our veterans listened to in the ‘40’s.

“The Americans who came to England in WWII had better uniforms, more money than our soldiers, and they had jazz. All the girls wanted to go to the USO dances and hear Glenn Miller and Count Basie.”  – Prudence Portman, London, on a BBC documentary.

The band committee is seeking names and information on any WWII veteran living in Bolivar County who would like to join us for the evening. Veterans will be given choice seating, and names of deceased veterans will be displayed on a marquee. Contact Rogers Varner at 662-846-6636 for more information.