12:07 p.m., Feb. 14, 2013

A little bit of jazz in a room full of cowboy hats
Gabe Rocha (left) on alto saxophone, Isaac Swim (center) on upright bass, and Matt Hooley (right) on electric guitar form the jazz combo representing Laramie County Community College at the Governor's Hospitality and Tourism Conference, who performed at the reception and during the dinnner for the "Big WYO" Awards Ceremony Feb. 12.

Kasey M. Orr, Co-editor

Little jazz combo plays for 'Big WYO' Awards

A call to Laramie County Community College looking for musicians led to one of its music instructors to recommend a few of the college’s lead jazz musicians for the Governor’s Hospitality and Tourism Conference “Big WYO” Awards banquet dinner Feb. 12 at Little America Hotel and Resort. Isaac Swim said the jazz combo group, which was called on to play, is made up of some of the better musicians from the jazz band, but the makeup of the combo for each event depends on availability.

Swim, playing his upright bass for the combo on this particular evening, was joined by electric guitarist Matt Hooley and alto saxophone player Gabe Rocha. The air was filled with the smooth rhythm of jazz as some of the business and industrial leaders of the state rubbed elbows in a crowded grand ballroom reception area awaiting the beginning of the awards ceremony dinner.

The group of LCCC students performing may have been small, but they were playing for some “big deal” people in the Wyoming business community. The “Big WYO” Award is given yearly by the governor and is the state’s tourism industry’s highest award, according to Gov. Matt Mead’s website.

“It’s good PR for the college,” Rocha said, adding it was always nice to see if afterward someone might approach them and say: “Hey, I heard your combo. Why don’t you play for us sometime?”

The jazz combo is an informal group at LCCC, requiring no real auditions to join. Swim says it’s mostly about coming to a few practices and “seeing who can hang” with the level of the group. Gary Hall is the LCCC instructor who originally recommended the combo for the event.