Week Nine: Elvis, The Beatles, and Beyond!

As Jazz Arts Group wrapped up the JazZoo! season with “Elvis, The Beatles, and Beyond,” I couldn’t help but feel like the summer had flown by before it even really began!

I had a very busy week, because not only was JAG putting together the final pieces of the JazZoo! production, but we were also hosting a convening of the country’s jazz community leaders as part of the Jazz Audiences Initiative study.  The Jazz Audiences Initiative tackles the question as to how and why people engage with jazz.  JAG and other organizations from around the country hope to use the data they obtain from this study to expand their audiences to include people from all different walks of life, and to create a more meaningful concert experience for them.  The JAI study was made possible through a generous grant from The Doris Duke Foundation.

Once at the Zoo on Friday, I helped to get our guest artists situated, and began to pass out promotional materials, including tiny trumpets and paper noisemakers.  We passed out the noisemakers to kick off our year-long celebration of Byron Stripling’s tenth anniversary of being the CJO’s Artistic Director.  I am happy to say they were a hit with the crowd!

The Winchester Steel Drum Co. played arrangements of popular tunes for an hour before the show.  Led by director Todd Phillips, the group is comprised of students from Canal Winchester.  They were a great way to start off the concert!

Special guest, guitarist Dan Faehnle, played with beauty, precision, and style, and I truly enjoyed his performance of classic rock songs.  Faehnle has played with the grammy-award-winner Diana Krall, and serves as the guitarist for the genre-bending ensemble, Pink Martini.

Our second guest artists, vocalist and crowd-pleaser Jonathan Elliot of Columbus band The Floorwalkers, lent his vocals to tunes like “Let it Be” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

I enjoyed seeing Dan Sharpe and others from The Columbus Foundation at their table before the show.  It is so exciting to know that people you know enjoy the concerts the Columbus Jazz Orchestra plays.

Interacting with the zoo animals is always a highlight of the evening for me, and I loved the barred owl and the two-toed sloth that the trainers brought out on stage.

This blind barred owl was rescued after being hit by a car.

The Abbey Road crosswalk backdrop served as an experiential enhancement for concert-goers.  I even had some fun pretending to recreate The Beatles’ iconic moment!

Orchestra Manager Karen Atria, Jungle Jack Hanna, and I take a romantic walk across Abbey Road.

I have had a great time and learned so much about nonprofit administration during this Fellowship.  It was so rewarding to see a full house for these shows, and knowing that I had a part in making it all happen.  I greatly enjoyed working with all of the JazZoo guest artists, and couldn’t have asked for better musicians and people to correspond with.

Be sure to check out Gary Budzak’s review of “Elvis, The Beatles, and Beyond” from The Columbus Dispatch! http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2011/08/13/season-ender-full-of-elvis-beatles–plus-a-few-animals.html

Check out more pictures from JazZoo! “Elvis, The Beatles, and Beyond,”  including some of the Winchester Steel Drum Co. here, courtesy of Magic 98.9! http://mycolumbusmagic.com/jazzoo/yterrell/jazzoo-elvis-the-beatles-beyond-feat-dan-faehnle-jonathan-elliot/

For those who have never seen the CJO or attended any other Jazz Arts Group events, I encourage you to check out our upcoming season. Details are available at www.jazzartsgroup.org.

– Janelle, Jazz Arts Group

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