Peru State College
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News Release

Peru State College Announces Winners of 37th Annual Jazz Festival


(Peru, Neb.) Six area high school bands and one middle school band recently took top honors at Peru State College’s (PSC) 37th Annual Jazz Festival themed Takin’ it to the Streets.

Dr. Patrick Fortney, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and festival coordinator, said, “We look forward to the Jazz Festival every year not only for the rousing music, but also the thrill of the competition. The bands that competed this year were top-notch. Unfortunately, only one can take the top prize in each division, which left our judge making some difficult decisions.”

The winners in each class, and their directors, are:

  • Middle School, Division II – Nebraska City Middle School, Greg Olsen
  • Class D – Sterling Senior High School, Lindsey LeMunyan
  • Class C – Yutan Senior High School, Doug Ramsey
  • Class B – Platteview Senior High School, Jerry Layher
  • Class A – Waverly Senior High School, Jim Kucera
  • Class AA – Elkhorn Senior High School, Dr. Michelle Bluford

The bands were judged by Ed Toth, percussionist with the legendary Doobie Brothers Band. A native of East Lyme, Conn., Toth has played the drums for nearly 30 years. After high school, Toth attended the University of Miami, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor’s degree in music. "

Toth relocated to Boston and joined the group Vertical Horizon 1996. He spent nine years with VH and scored a multi-platinum smash with the bands RCA debut Everything You Want in 2000. The title track was the most played song on U.S. radio that year and won three Billboard Awards. The album also yielded the hits You’re a God and Best I Ever Had. Vertical Horizon followed up with Go in 2003.

Toth joined The Doobie Brothers in 2005 and has performed with Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, Warren Haynes and Erin McKeown - to name a few. Most recently, Toth joined good friend Tim Bradshaw (Dog’s Eye View, David Gray, John Mayer) to create the band, Cooper.