Week Four: Red, White, and Blues!

At the end of my fourth week at Jazz Arts Group,  the Columbus Jazz Orchestra performed their first JazZoo! concert of the season at Water’s Edge Events Park at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  The patriotic sounds of the orchestra filled the air – and the spirit of jazz was in full swing!

A patriotic Uncle Sam on stilts entertains the crowd before the show!

I left the office around 2:00 to head over to the zoo.  There, I helped distribute JAG promotional materials to all of the tables and made sure our guest artist, Kevin McGuire, was comfortable and ready to go for rehearsal.  At the venue, I helped with everything from passing out programs, to collecting comment cards and surveys; from finding emergency water jugs, to learning about musician compensation backstage at the show.

Musician Dwight Adams looks on from the stage.

 It was great to finally meet Gordy Haggard, JAG’s main zoo contact – and someone I have been e-mailing very frequently, face-to-face.  It was even more rewarding to be the first one to welcome our special guest Ralph Lewis, a decorated WWII veteran, and his companion Charlene Pfingstag at the backstage gate before the show.

Artistic Director Byron Stripling talks with honored guest Ralph Lewis from the stage.

During the concert, animal handlers from the zoo always bring a few zoo animals onto the stage for the crowd to see.  This week, the zoo brought out an arctic fox, a baby bearcat, and a three-month-old clouded leopard.  While backstage, I had the incredible opportunity to interact with these animals, and I even had the baby bearcat crawling up my right arm, around the front of my neck, and back down the other arm!  I also interacted with patrons about our contact cards/questionnaires which served as a raffle ticket to win a zoo membership.  Even more exciting, I got to go on stage to hold the fishbowl while honored guest Ralph Lewis picked a winner!

Byron, Ralph, and myself on stage getting ready the raffle.

I had an absolute blast at the first JazZoo! concert and can’t wait for our next concert THIS Friday!

Check out The Columbus Dispatch review of “Red, White, and Blues!” by Gary Budza!

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