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Help pull Summer of Jazz out of fire

Dear Editor,

This is shaping up to be quite a memorable summer! For the Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz 2002, June began as a typical season. We opened with a spectacular performance by Ray Barretto and the New World Septet. The remaining lineup for the next seven concerts was stellar … with some of the best and brightest emerging and established jazz musicians slated to perform.

Our sponsorship base of over 175 local businesses and families was solid. Our 2002 design was perfect … with a promise of successful weekly T-shirt sales and donations at the park.

Who would have thought that the next three weeks we would be jazz refugees? We were forced out of Two Rivers Park, which became the staging area for hundreds of firefighters waging war against the elements.

Gone were the relaxing, balmy, summer evenings at Two Rivers Park. What we got was smoke, confusion, anxiety and a severely charred valley. Green turned to black. People lost their homes and many now fear the inevitable mudslides that will be released by the next downpour. Tourism took a nosedive.

Attendance at the concerts diminished as did contributions and T-shirt sales. You could feel the tension and uncertainty of our parched, dusty world.

The Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz has, however, persevered. We were able to hold our second concert (despite the cancellation of the Monty Alexander Trio) at the high school. The third and fourth week, we set up camp at the Sayre Park Gazebo and enjoyed two memorable, though slightly chaotic, musical evenings. For the fifth and sixth weeks, the concerts came home to Two Rivers Park to small and tentative crowds.

For last week’s seventh concert (our 157th), it rained! I never thought I would welcome rain on a Wednesday evening in the summer, but it was a tremendous relief to get a little moisture! The mountains are greening up!

So this leaves us with one remaining concert in our 2002 season. Through the trials and tribulations of this season, we are experiencing a $10,000 shortfall.

We depend upon the weekly contributions of concert-goers. This season, they haven’t been there. We have this one more chance to pull it out of the fire, so to speak.

If you love the Summer of Jazz, come on Wednesday to Two Rivers Park at 7 p.m. Bring your family, your picnic and your checkbook. Support this annual tradition with a membership, T-shirt purchase or just a plain old contribution.

There is no way to start next season or any season thereafter with this deficit. Your support is important and appreciated.

As an important footnote, this Wednesday also marks the final concert where we can enjoy the finely tuned pianos of Hilton White. Hilton and Bobbie White are packing it up and moving to Australia in August. They have been an essential part of the Summer of Jazz for our entire 17-year history.

Musicians have praised Hilton’s tuning expertise (Ahmad Jamal called his agent from Paris to praise Hilton after he performed here). Bobbie served as our director for a couple of years and they have always been there.

From the pre-season kickoff party to having their shop open for the musicians to warm up prior to their performance, to sewing a quilt for a fund-raiser and picking up trash after each concert, they have been there!

To say we will miss them is an understatement. Come wish them well. Bring them a card on the 24th. Bon Voyage!

See you at the park on Wednesday for the Cedar Walton and Red Holloway Quartet. Support the Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz. Come out to Two Rivers Park. Dance. Be with your family and neighbors. Enjoy Glenwood Springs!

Mary Noone

Glenwood Springs Summer

of Jazz 2002


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