Tom Plummer, director of the South Central Calhoun High School jazz band, holds the state title trophy following his band's effort in the 2015 Iowa Jazz Championships at the Des Moines Civic Center. Plummer's band earned the 2016 title on Tuesday, the ninth his musicians have earned.


DES MOINES | South Central Calhoun, the recent school consolidation of Southern Cal (Calhoun County) and Rockwell City-Lytton, claimed its first state jazz title by upending Okoboji in the Class 2A finals at the Iowa Jazz Championships on Tuesday night at the Des Moines Civic Center.

South Central Calhoun is directed by Tom Plummer, a native of Hornick, Iowa, and 1982 graduate of Westwood High School.

Okoboji, directed by longtime staff member Greg Forney, was bidding to earn the school's fifth state jazz title, all on Forney's watch. Forney, incidentally, is also a native of Hornick, and prepped at Maple Valley High School.

"I've known Greg for years, he played drums and I played bass and we played for years together in the band Tuxedo Junction," Plummer said.

The title is the eighth for Plummer, a 1986 Morningside College graduate who served Kingsley-Pierson High School for four years before taking the position at Southern Cal in Lake City, Iowa.

Southern Cal won jazz band championships from 2003 to 2009. Southern  Cal's consolidation with Rockwell City-Lytton became official on July 1, 2014.

"We got third last year and fifth two years ago," said Plummer. "We had been right at the edge. We have 12 seniors of 22 musicians, so this was the year to do it."

Forney and wife Julie Forney, the middle school band director for the Okoboji Community School District, are both retiring at the end of this school year. Okoboji's last state jazz band title came in 2011.

North Mahaska High School, which is based in New Sharon, Iowa, won the Class 1A title. Class 3A and 4A crowns went to Pella and West Des Moines Valley, respectively.



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