It will be one of the first times in several years that she's returned to her alma mater and a chance to reconnect with the teachers who inspired her to pursue music as a career.
She would accompany groups, on piano, in rehearsals with Sam's students and she described Payne as "an incredible director."
"It was really neat to be part of a semi-professional experience while you're still in high school and that's what I got at Williams," she added.
Whitaker's family moved to
Other than performing with the
She began as a piano player. As one of six children (four boys and two girls), Whitaker said her father taught all of them how to play piano.
"His mother taught him and he got a lot of joy out of playing," she said. "I often say that it's the greatest gift my parents ever gave me -- teaching all of us how to play piano. Because it taught me a lot about music theory and when I went to college as a music major, I was glad I had that background."
When the family lived in
"It really was a wonderful gift they gave us all," she added.
When the band performs at
"You're going to hear about 100 years worth of jazz in a 90-minute performance," she said. From Dixieland to patriotic tunes, Whitaker said there's something "raw, unprocessed about the live performances" she enjoys. "I think it's the human factor behind it, too. We, as musicians, feed off the energy of the audience."
Admission is free, but tickets are required and can be obtained by calling (336) 227-0131 or visiting the
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