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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Jazz initiave at Aldersgate
Showcase reaches out at retirement community
 
Published Friday, April 20, 2018 10:18 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

FILE PHOTO
The Jazz Arts Initiative is playing Jazz at Aldersgate starting May 18 with a pilot performance to bring music to the East Charlotte retirement community.

Jazz is for everyone, including seniors.


Jazz at Aldersgate, presented by Jazz Arts Initiative kicks off at the retirement community on May 18 with a pilot performance to bring jazz to East Charlotte. The first performance is for residents only, but is expected to become a free monthly staple open to the entire community.

“We’re bringing in an amazing local vocalist, Dawn Anthony,” said Jazz Arts Initiative President and CEO Lonnie Davis said. “She will be doing some of the music of Ella Fitzgerald and some other classic jazz renditions. Dawn has performed the music of Ella Fitzgerald at our Jazz Room concert series in the past, and she will be bringing her performance to Aldersgate for those residents. I know they are definitely going to enjoy it.”

Said Erin Barbee, director of mission advancement at Aldersgate: “The first one will be our residents, just as a debut, and then going forward it will be open to the community for free. The goal is to have the Jazz Room, and expand to have the offerings for a Latin jazz band to be able to practice and play here, and to have people from the Eastside to be able to participate in that.”

Those unfamiliar with JAI will experience a performance from the Jazz Arts Youth Ensemble III at the April 28 Aldersgate International Sandwich Festival.

“We wanted to insert her into the festival, because it’s great exposure for the kids and for everyone to get a taste of the Jazz Arts Initiative” Barbee said.
Stage Door Theater on College Street serves as the Jazz Room’s home, but not everyone can make it Uptown.

“We had a lot of fun brainstorming how we could recreate the Jazz Room that they have downtown here at Aldersgate,” Barbee said. “It will be almost an exact replica, but we’re going to make it a little more high end in its looks. We’re going to really take it back to Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack time with the look and feel of it so when you walk in, you really feel like you’ve stepped back in time.”

Said Davis: “It’s very important for the Jazz Arts Initiative to serve the entire community, and to make our programs accessible to all because this music is for everyone. Our seniors are probably the biggest jazz fans of all of us, because this was their popular music. This was the music that they grew up with. A lot of them have seen the folks who we imagine are jazz legends, like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. They went to those concerts and met these legendary artists. They have firsthand experience with this music, and have loved it their entire lives. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring the music to them, and remind them of the love they have for the music so that they can continue to enjoy it. That’s the least that we can do to serve that audience in our community.”

Situated in the heart of East Charlotte, Aldersgate falls within a one of the Arts & Science Council’s culture blocks. ASC feedback from area residents included a desire to see more senior programs and performing arts.

“They want to reach a different audience,” Barbee said. “They’ve been very successful downtown, and they felt that, because we are in a culture block with ASC where we lack access to cultural arts, Lonnie said, ‘I want to do something about that. I want to something with seniors as well,’ and I said, ‘well, we’re the right people for you.’”

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