Rochester, NY — On Friday, September 23, 2005, more than 400 people filled the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall to attend the School’s annual Jazz Showcase. This year, however, the students in the concert’s ten ensembles decided to turn the free event into a benefit for a specific group of Hurricane Katrina victims: jazz musicians from New Orleans — the “birthplace of jazz.”
“Because of a sense of commitment to a noble cause and a feeling of togetherness with jazz musicians from New Orleans, the performances reached a very high level of creativity and musical maturity,” remembers Dariusz Terefenko, an assistant professor of jazz and theory, who led one of seven Jazz Performance Workshops that performed. “The enthusiasm that emanated from the stage was reciprocated by our audience.”
With a $5 suggested donation, the event raised $1,154.00 — every penny of which was sent Tuesday by money order to the Jazz Foundation of America. The JFA’s Jazz Musicians’ Emergency Fund routinely helps jazz musicians obtain services like health and dental care, legal counsel, and even housing for these freelance artists. In the aftermath of Katrina, the JFA was named the official coordinator for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, and is working with several other Gulf area agencies to deliver food and shelter, as well as instruments and paid gigs to hundreds of musicians.
“I’m very proud of our students,” says Eastman Professor Harold Danko, who chairs the jazz and contemporary media department. “We look forward to continued involvement with the Jazz Foundation’s mission. I also hope that more Rochester jazz lovers will contribute, by sending donations directly to the JFA.”
To donate and/or to find out more, visit www.jazzfoundation.org. The Jazz Foundation of America is also featured in the latest issue of People magazine.