The Summer Solstice Jazz Festival wants to wish the very best to you and yours during the holiday season, and a very happy New Year! Much like an annoying family member or co-worker the SSJF has decided to take advantage of the "Holiday Newsletter" tradition, and let you know what we've been up to for the past several months.
2016 Summer Solstice Jazz Festival Performance Videos Uploaded to Youtube
Since 2013 the SSJF has been fortunate enough to have many of its breath-taking musical moments captured on video. This collection of performances includes footage of Cyrille Aimee, Bria Skonberg, The U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note, and many more.
Slowly, since the end of October, videos from the 2016 Festival have been uploadedto the SSJF's Youtube Channel
Videos of Gary Motley, Marcus Elliot, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, Ben Williams & Sound Effect, and more are now available for your viewing pleasure, with more being added weekly.
East Lansing Arts Commission Awards the SSJF a 2017 Cultural Arts Grant
The City of East Lansing Arts Commission, dedicated supporters of the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival since its inception in 1996, renewed their financial commitment to the event with a 2017 Cultural Arts Grant.
The ELAC promotes art in the community; encourages cooperation with local arts agencies; develops and recommends proposals for activities related to exhibition, performance and instruction in the arts; and works with other boards and commissions to strengthen the aesthetics and appeal of projects that affect public places.
The Cultural Arts Grant supports projects that encourage artistic awareness, public participation and/or cultural art appreciation. The SSJF extends sincere appreciation to the East Lansing Arts Commission for their many years of support.
SSJF Advisory Board Experiences a Changing of the Guard
Unfortunately, we do not have lifetime appointments to the SSJF Advisory Board , After the 2016 festival 3 of the festival's very hard-working Board Members, Robert Banks, Neil Gordon and Blake Johnson, decided that it was time for them to step down. Robert Banks, as Board Chair was instrumental in the increased involvement and support the festival received from MSU and the City of East Lansing. Neil Gordon as Vice-Chair assisted in the implementation and expansion of the SSJF Advisory Board, and oversaw and shaped marketing efforts. Blake Johnson, the MSUFCU liaison to the festival, assisted in MSUFCU's expanded contribution and assisted in festival place-making strategies. These gentlemen were very instrumental in the positive growth and change that the SSJF has experienced, and the event will be forever in their debt.
In happier news the festival is very happy to welcome two new Advisory Board Members Therese Devlin Roth and Justin Drwencke.
Therese shares her passion and 20 years of experience committed to community development and creative placemaking through the power of the arts and music! She has served as the Director of Sponsorship Development, and the Board of Directors at the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Arts (MICA). Therese is the Director of Sponsorship for the Phil Denny’s Armory Smooth Jazz Fete, 2017.
Justin Drwencke is the eServices Manager at MSU Federal Credit Union. He is also the co-founder of the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, an organization developed to connect, educate, and empower LGBTQ college students across the Midwest. He currently serves as the organization's Chief Executive Officer
The SSJF Advisory Board is pleased and proud to welcome these two aboard.
SSJF Advisory Board, (Front Row L to R); Kristin Hofman (Secretary), Gregg Hill, Robert F. Banks, Barbara Sawyer-Koch (Back Row L to R): Benjamin Hall, (Coordinator), Rodney Whitaker, (Artistic Director), Carolyn Ojala, Al Cafagna (Founder), Beth Cafagna (Founder), Justin Drwencke, John Loose. (Not pictured Therese Devlin Roth, Denise Maybank, Lois Mummaw, Mike Eyia, Mike Brand)
Your Hard Work Well-Rewarded
On October 17, the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival had the unique opportunity to show a bit of appreciation to our fans, friends, donors, supporters, volunteers and sponsors with an unforgettable evening of entertainment courtesy of the Emmet Cohen Trio.
Emmet Cohen, a jazz pianist considered "one of the most dynamic young musicians on the scene today", by jazz bassist Christian McBride, just happened to be in Michigan for the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. His Trio squeezed a free performance in the Marshall Music Recital Hall into their busy schedule. The band was on fire, and we all sure enjoyed ourselves!
MSU Jazz Studies Combo Contest
This fall the jazz festival added a new programming spot to the MSU Outreach & Engagement Stage via the MSU Jazz Studies Combo Contest. The contest was open to all MSU Jazz Studies students. Competing combos were asked to submit a video with 2 songs of contrasting tempo and feel for a chance to play at the 2017 event. As was expected, the level of talent in the videos received made deciding on 3 finalists very difficult. We are, however, excited to announce the winners!
1st Place: Zach Adlemann Quartet
2nd Place: Quintet Ruby
3rd Place: Markus Howell Trio
Congratulations MSU JAZZ Studies Combos!