ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa | Spinning music across Northwest Iowa ....

Jackie Telford, a retiree who turns 85 this month, isn't letting a loss at the polls put to rest her musical ambition.

Telford had a music measure placed on the ballot last fall in Rock Rapids. Her goal: Use a little-known 1920s Iowa Band Law to raise $9,200 to strike up the Rock Rapids Municipal Band, which had been silent since 1946. Telford played trumpet with the group that year.

The measure didn't hit a crescendo. It fell flat, losing 350-108.

"We haven't completely given up on it," Telford says. "The measure failed, but I thought I'd go after some sponsors for the band."

She's hopeful a few businesses or individuals will help underwrite the effort. An interested party from Minnesota offered support.

"We might get some volunteers together to get it going," she says.

Volunteers are gathering at 9 a.m. April 12 to pitch in on Telford's other pet project, Rapids Theatre in downtown Rock Rapids. Workers are to remove plaster and lathe on the inside of the 1918 three-story structure.

Since organizing in 2011, the Rock Rapids Theatre Preservation Society has purchased the building and started its renovation. A $55,000 donation allowed the group to buy the theater, which had closed. Recent grants from the James W. and Ella B. Forster Charitable Trust ($38,000) and the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation ($18,000) have helped the group replace windows and doors.

The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation gave $32,000 last year.

"We'd love to get the downstairs ready for an event by the end of this year," Telford says. "Our long-range goal is to complete the renovation by the 100th anniversary of the building in 2018."

Speaking of bands ... The bands strike up and strike out for Des Moines on Tuesday for the Iowa Jazz Championships. I'll have a story in Sunday's Journal featuring the Spencer (Iowa) High School Jazz Band, which this season landed its first state berth since 1983.

While returning from Spencer on Wednesday, I drove past Alta-Aurelia High School as the school's jazz choir stepped off a charter bus with a state title trophy in hand.

Alta-Aurelia High School claimed the Class 2A championship in the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships on Tuesday at Ballard High School in Huxley, Iowa.

Alta-Aurelia, which has won the two most recent Class 2A jazz band state titles, now adds a vocal jazz prize to its accomplishments. It is the first vocal jazz state title for a school that started this activity only three yeas ago with the arrival of Luke Miller, director of vocal music.

"We basically started from scratch," Miller says.

Jazz choirs sing three jazz songs in a competition. Groups vary in size from four to 20. A few choirs bring instrumentalists, while others sing a capella or go with an accompanist. There are generally no costume changes or choreography.

Alta-Aurelia had a trio that played one song before setting the instruments down to join the choir in singing two others. Brielle Kolpin played baritone sax, Shawn Henley played trombone and Spencer Bezoni handled trumpet, all in the song "Knock Me a Kiss."

"In that song there were parts available for a combo, so I decided that if we have kids from the defending state champion jazz band, we should just as well pull them off their microphones and have them play a little," Miller says. "All three are fantastic singers."

All told, eight Alta-Aurelia students sing in the state title vocal jazz unit while also playing key roles in the school's jazz band, which goes for a rare "three-peat" on Tuesday.

"We told the kids that all they need to do was sing as well as they could and have fun and it would all fall together," Miller says.

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