"He has such a great following, a lot of people came down to hear him (last year)," said Georgia Koch, co-director of the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event. "He enjoyed it so much he said, 'Why don't I come back and open for you guys?'"
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If you goWhat: Jazz in Glen Ellyn
When: 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13
Where: Main Street between Crescent Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue, Glen Ellyn
Cost: Free; concessions available
Koch gladly accepted Wertico's offer and this year he will once again be banging on the drums on the Main Street stage in Glen Ellyn. And this time he's bringing jazz musicians John Moulder and Larry Gray along with him. The trio will kick off the 2013 edition of Jazz in Glen Ellyn at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13.
Also performing at this year's event are the Mark Colby Quartet, Chicago native and nationally respected vocalist Dee Alexander, and the Elmhurst College Jazz Band featuring special guest Byron Stripling.
Colby, like Wertico, has previously performed at Jazz in Glen Ellyn, but it has been a number of years since his last appearance. He has played professionally since he was 14 and has performed on stage with greats such as Frank Sinatra and Joe Williams over the course of his career.
"He's played with all of the big names," Koch said. "I am also excited about Dee Alexander because I know she's an awesome vocalist and has gotten great reviews wherever she has gone."
Stripling and the Elmhurst College Jazz Band will headline the night, taking the stage 9 p.m. The Elmhurst College Jazz Band has been internationally acclaimed, touring in 17 different countries. Stripling is best known for his work as a trumpeter.
Jazz in Glen Ellyn will begin with Wertico and friends at 4:30 p.m. and run until 10:30 p.m. The stage will be set up near the north end of the festival area and at the south end will be a tent with food and refreshments. Main Street will be blocked off from vehicles between Crescent Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue.
The street will be packed from side to side and Koch expects attendance to be around 2,500 people. Admission is free and doors open at 4 p.m., although Koch admits there are no doors and recommends getting there early for good seats. In years past, jazz enthusiasts have started showing up as soon as setup is complete in the late morning or around noontime.
It is suggested that people bring their own chairs; however coolers are not allowed.
"We're hoping people will come and enjoy downtown Glen Ellyn," Koch said. "We'll provide food and drink and all you have to do is sit back and listen."