by Sunny Sumter, Executive Director
It’s October, and although the warmer temperatures of summer are a little more hesitant to change as usual, slowly but surely the signs, sights and sounds of autumn are creeping in – whether you’re listening to “Autumn Leaves” or looking at them! And, with the autumn leaves comes a time for reflection. Before we know it, it will be 2018 – but there are still opportunities to celebrate and support jazz in our nation’s capital. We still have our October 26 co-presentation of Anakronic / Krakauer and Whispers of a Shadow, in partnership with the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the French-American Jazz Exchange at La Maison Francaise; and our Jazzin’ AfterSchool program led by Herman Burney at Sitar Arts Center. Then November will signal our year-end fund drive and the DC Jazz Festival’s annual season of giving as the holidays approach.
This year is poised to be one that ends on a note of exceptional accomplishment, thanks to the investments and support of our many valued stakeholders and patrons. Jazz in DC is healthy and thriving, and this is all happening during a time when the arts are elevated as a necessity to our communities. Now, more than ever, the importance of our creative work to educate, entertain and initiate pertinent cultural exchanges through the power of jazz cannot be underestimated. Last month, with generous grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Gillon Family Charitable Fund, and the CrossCurrents Foundation, the DC Jazz Festival brought to life “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” – a social justice project from DC artist-activist Michael Bowie that engaged artists and the DC community on their duty to protect their civil rights.
We also produced a most successful Annual Trustee Reception, graciously hosted by Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and in partnership with the Embassy of Japan, and made possible thanks to the support of Linda and Michael Sonnenreich, Events DC, and Destination DC. Japanese pianist Yoko Miwa treated guests to an evening of exceptional musical virtuosity, illustrating the international language of jazz hard at work.
And, our education programs are jazzin’ and swingin’ in full gear! In September, the DC Jazz Festival presented a free harmonica workshop led by NYU Jazz Studies Director Dave Schroeder and our Education Coordinator and resident jazz chanteuse Rochelle Rice at the NYU DC campus for over 150 DCPS students. As an observer, I can attest that the students left that afternoon so very jazzed about learning! “This is the best field trip ever!” said Antonio of Center City Public Charter School, who was one of the many engaged young learners that day.
As our partnerships with Bishop Walker, Tyler Elementary and Sitar Arts Center move and groove into the chillier months, with excitement we pledge to continue engaging DC students through the delight and surprise of jazz.
We cannot wait to finish out this year on a resounding high note, but there’s still a lot of exciting work to be done in the remaining weeks of 2017. And, we’ll even have a few exciting announcements about the June 2018 DC JazzFest – so keep your eyes and ears peeled. In the meantime, thank you for all you do to support the DC Jazz Festival’s mission and goals. You lift us up, and it’s our privilege to serve the DC community.