LEAVITTSBURG - Tammy Johnson didn't know what to expect when she arrived at the LaBrae High School auditorium Saturday.
However, 15 minutes into the show the Warren woman was tapping her toes and keeping time with the music.
"It's a new experience," she said. "I didn't know what to expect, but this is interesting. It's nice."
Tribune Chronicle / Virginia Shank
Chief Warrant Officer William S. McCulloch, director, leads the Jazz Ambassadors in song Saturday evening during a performance at the LaBrae High School auditorium.
Johnson was among the hundreds of folks who gathered at LaBrae for the local stop on the Jazz Ambassadors 2012 Fall Tour.
The free program was part of the Tribune Chronicle's yearlong celebration of the 200th anniversary of newspaper publishing in Trumbull County.
The Jazz Ambassadors - America's Big Band - is the official touring big band of the U.S. Army. The 19-member ensemble was formed in 1969 and has received great acclaim, both at home and abroad, performing jazz. The band tours 100 days a year.
The stop in Trumbull County is part of a 35-day tour of the Midwest.
"I love this," said Lisa Leyman of Warren, a U.S. Army veteran. "The five years I was in the service, I never had an opportunity to hear them. This is a first for me, but it's really nice being here. Plus, I wanted to support the band."
Ronald Franklin of Warren, a Vietnam veteran, has heard the Jazz Ambassadors before.
"I love it," he said. "I'm a big jazz fan. They're amazing. I think everyone should hear them."
Also joining the band were LaBrae High School students Ariel Kresen on trombone, Elaina Timko on alto sax and Caleb Johnson on trumpet.
The band's repertoire includes big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals and patriotic selections. Vocalist U.S. Army Master Sgt. Marva Lewis performed several selections Saturday.
The band has performed in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India and throughout Europe. Notable performances include concerts at international jazz festivals in Montreux, Switzerland; Newport, R.I.; Toronto, Canada; Brussels, Belgium; and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. In 1995, the Jazz Ambassadors performed in England, Wales, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The band also has been featured in unique joint concerts with major orchestras, including the Detroit and Baltimore symphonies.