The Birth of the Tritones (the Annual Sertoma Auction)

“By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” – Duke Ellington

When I was little, I had these big dreams of being the next pop superstar dancing around on stage with one of those cool headset mics and a sequined dress. “Call me Megan Nicole,” I’d say to the teeming masses lined up for miles to get my autograph, “and excuse me, but where’s my Diet Coke?” I had it all planned out.

While I realize that some of you may be unaware of this, I’m not exactly world-famous pop superstar Megan Nicole (although there IS a Megan Nicole on YouTube who is doing extremely well). Instead, I am simply Megan Lange, still living in Knoxville, TN, still going to school, working full-time at a software company (let me just state for the record how much I love my job and coworkers… seriously), and singing far less than I ever thought was possible.

Somewhere in between school, work, and the all-around busy-ness of life, I’ve let music slip through my fingers. I won’t say that it’s been forgotten… we all know how much of a lie that is. I still sing in church choir. I still take lessons of some sort or another. I find myself staying up late at night to strum my guitar and throw together little ditties, and whenever certain friends show up in town there is inevitably a jam session of which I am a part. No, music is still around — but what happened to the big dreams of the tiny three-year-old Megan singing on a cedar chest in Mommy’s high heels?

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to dedicate a lot of time and energy towards an extremely worthwhile cause: Sertoma Center. This incredible organization works to serve the mentally challenged and disabled of Knoxville, and it has been my pleasure to serve on the committee for their annual dinner and auction fundraiser — one that raises a lot of money for this organization. In addition to serving as their graphic designer and finding a photographer for the event (THANK YOU, Elisa!), I was also asked to come up with the musical entertainment for the evening — specifically, I was asked if I would be the entertainment. The theme of the auction, you see, is Cool Jazz, Warm Nights, and the committee chair happens to have some knowledge of my prior singing experience.

It was with some trepidation that I said yes — and I immediately began to pull together a group of boys to play with me. Couldn’t be jazz without a proper jazz band, see?

A few weeks later, and you have Megan and the Beats — composed of Wendel Werner on keys, Garrit Tillman on percussion, Ashton Williams on bass, Jake Smith on guitar, David Platillero on sax… and myself, of course, on vocals. One awkward and overwhelming radio appearance later, it became clear to me that this adventure was going to be a bit more than I had originally bargained for. The problem, you see, was that I was going to miss having so much music in my life… and that was not okay.

Which brings me to the news of the evening: Megan and the Tritones.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I thought it was Megan and the Beats! What’s this business about the Tritones?” …and you’re right. It’s a little confusing, but I’ll try to explain. The Beats, you see, were brought together specifically for the Sertoma dinner and auction. The goal was to create an incredible jazz group to provide much needed entertainment the night of the auction… nothing more (speaking of the auction, attendance is currently at over 300 — so awesome!). However, upon working with Garrit, Ashton, and Jake, it became quite clear to me that I wasn’t going to be able to stop singing once I had gotten back in the habit — and so, the Tritones were formed.

These three über talented young men and I are going to be working together through the upcoming months to bring a little more jazz to Knoxville-town… and I couldn’t be more excited. In all truth, pop superstar Megan Nicole isn’t the gal I want to be — but a sexy, sultry jazz singer? That’s what I’m talking about.

Nothing planned yet, but something is cooking down in the basement of Melrose… and it sounds like jazz to me. Funny how the childhood dreams we push aside can come true all those years later, isn’t it?

If you’re interested in attending Friday’s Sertoma auction, tickets are $100 per person and $1250 for a Table Sponsorship. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Joan Brown O’Kane at 865.524.5555 ext. 239 or… or you can get in touch with me.

The images included in today’s blog are (drumroll) new business cards! They’ll be here on Thursday and I’m almost giddy with excitement. The beginning of a new adventure!


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