Summer of Jazz is a labor of love
By Ivy Vogel
Post Independent Staff
The seed for the Summer of Jazz was planted 19 years ago when Bob and Mary Noone were wondering what they could do for entertainment without having to hire a baby sitter.
The Noones wanted to be able to put the kids in a wagon, pull them to the park and listen to good music for a couple of hours. Instead of waiting for someone else to make it happen, the Noones asked local businesses for money, got in touch with national and international musicians and started the Summer of Jazz concert series.
Summer of Jazz is a free local jazz fest. Concerts take place every Wednesday (and one Thursday) throughout the summer.
Although the Noones continue to make sure concerts are free to families, it’s a stretch to get enough funding. More than 200 local businesses – and several individuals – donate money to Summer of Jazz. However, the lagging economy has caused donations to decrease by 10 percent, Bob Noone said.
For the rest of the summer, the Noones will ask businesses and individuals to donate a total of $20,000 to Summer of Jazz so they can meet their $80,000 budget.
The Noones’ budget is stretched thin. Among other things, the budget pays for contracts, tech guys, advertising and port-o-lets.
“I don’t think people realize how expensive these are to put on,” director Sher Kerschen said. “We say it’s a free concert, and they just think that’s great.”
Donations from the city haven’t fluctuated from last year, Kerschen said. The city continues donate $12,000 to Summer of Jazz. However, smaller donations ranging from $100 to $5,000 have declined, said Noone.
“This whole thing is very grassroots,” Noone said. “Most of our donations are about $250. People don’t understand how important those donations are.”
Kerschen didn’t realize how much people value Summer of Jazz until she got a letter from a man who was bedridden in a hospital.
The man was in a bad accident and was concerned he’d miss Summer of Jazz. He wrote to Kerschen to ask if she could send him the jazz lineup. Kerschen talked to the musicians and was able to give the man a CD from each musician.
“Sometimes you just don’t know how far it reaches,” Kerschen said. “It would be a tragedy to lose Summer of Jazz.”
Fans shouldn’t worry. Summer of Jazz should be able to reach $80,000 by the end of the summer, Noone said.
“Last year we got a lot of tentative pledges,” Noone said. “This year we’ve gotten a little more commitment.”
Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. 534
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