November 21, 2018

Fat Tuesday Jazz at St.John’s- Haiti Benefit

On Shrove Tuesday evening, March 8, the sounds of traditional jazz will again warm St. John’s, Essex for a last hurrah before the season of Lent begins the next day.  But this year’s concert will mix it up, featuring the Occasional Jazz Ensemble and a program combining favorite Dixieland selections with the Great American Songbook standards for which the group is known through its work at area clubs and charitable functions.
The band started several years ago as a pick-up group of musicians hand-picked for particular engagements but didn’t have a name until double bassist Jim Goodwin, a classics educator by day, suggested one playing on the “occasional” theme – underscoring that the group plays at social occasions, but does so only occasionally and not regularly.
This year’s formation includes Phred Mileski, vocals; Ed Birch, trumpet and trombone; Jos Konst, saxophone; Jim Goodwin, bass; Trevor Davis, drums; and Scott Konrad, leader and pianist.   The band will serve up selections ranging from toe-tapping Chicago-style Dixieland to the music of Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Arthur Schwartz and Harold Dietz – even a few spirituals — a jambalaya of joy to close out the season of Epiphany.
The evening will begin with a traditional family pancake supper in the undercroft, followed by the one-hour jazz concert at 7:00 sharp.  A freewill offering will be collected at the close of the concert to benefit the library project of “Sisters Cities Essex Haiti” (see article below).  Be sure to bring your friends and neighbors!

Photo courtesy of Melissa Harris

The first initiative of the library project of “Sister Cities Essex Haiti” is the creation of a library/community center in Haiti to provide children a well-lighted, safe place to study, a place for people to borrow books, a place for parents to read with their children, and a community center for everyone. 

Few families have books in their homes, and the  importance of having the opportunity to take a book home to share with the family will be immense.  Despite the fact that all Haitians value education highly, there are few libraries in rural Haiti.  Indeed, although the official language in Haiti is Kreyol, until recently there were very few books written in Kreyol because French was and still is taught in elementary, secondary and University level schools.

Sister Cities EssexHaiti is working to change this by providing a space with opportunities for learning.  More information about this great project can be found at .

So come enjoy some great music and support a wonderful ministry at the same time!