Week Six: Rhapsody in Zoo!

The Zoo was alive with music once again as the Columbus Jazz Orchestra took to the stage on July 22nd for a Gershwin-themed musical adventure!

This week’s concert had so many elements, and featured many of the branches of Jazz Arts Group’s programming umbrella.  There was of course, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra performing on stage, which is the flagship performing ensemble of Jazz Arts Group. 

Artistic Director Byron Stripling leads the CJO.

To open up for the CJO, there was a performance by the “Big Band for Grown-Ups,” led by JAG librarian, musician, and my own saxophone professor Jay Miglia.  “Big Band for Grown-Ups” is  exactly what it sounds like – a big band comprised of adults, some of whom hadn’t played in years.  To represent the Youth Jazz Program, Dan Hitchcock, the winner of the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award, played “Shell Game” with the CJO in front of the packed audience! 

Hank Marr High School Award winner and Thomas Worthington senior Dan Hitchcock is featured with the CJO.

Guest Artist Kelly Crum Delaveris lit up the stage with her classic vocal style, and really brought the nostaglia of Gershwin to life!  Kelly is part of JAG’s Afflitiate Musicians program, which provides employment opportunities to talented Columbus-area musicians.

Kelly Crum Delaveris works the crowd!

Featured member of the orchestra, pianist Bobby Floyd brought the audience to their feet with his superb rendition of Gershwin’s most well-known work, Rhapsody in Blue

Bobby Floyd plays "Rhapsody in Blue" to a captive audience.

Backstage, we had fun interacting with big cats!  Zoo trainers brought a Cerval, a Lynx, and a Cheetah out on stage for the audience to see.  Getting to see these amazing animals up close is one of my favorite parts of JazZoo! 

A Zoo trainer holds a Cerval backstage.

 The Lynx is from Russia, and was very well-behaved backstage!

Byron interacts with the Lynx on stage.

 I was so amazed at the prescence of this animal.  It was both awe-inspiring and a little scary to be so close to this wild cat!

The fastest land animal in the world, the Cheetah!

It was great to have Alicia, Ha, and Ann there to see the show!  I managed to set aside the last free table for them, and I hope they enjoyed the show as much as I did!

I also spent several hours manning the Jazz Arts Group table at Jazz and Ribs Fest on Sunday.  I shared the table with a volunteer named Peggy.  She has been a subscriber for years, and is a donor to Jazz Arts Group.  In the three-hour shift that I worked, she and I had an interesting conversation about the importance of music and the arts in people’s lives.  She and I both recognize how Jazz Arts Group is one of the very few organizations of it’s kind – dedicated to building a sense of community through jazz music.  It was great to get to hear about the audience’s perception of JAG, since I always see things from behind the scenes. 

We have one JazZoo! concert left, and I can’t believe my fellowship will be done soon.  This experience has taught me so much about non-profit work and community engagement, and I look forward to continuing to learn!

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