Things hardly slow down during winter for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Although the annual 10-day music event, centerpiece for the organization, is scheduled for June 1 – 10 later this year, several special events and education programs roll out over the next few weeks.
First up is a benefit concert for the , the Plaza Street arts nonprofit, with a special .
Rhonda Benin, a performer at last summer’s Festival, will showcase her vocal prowess and stage presence at HCA on Saturday, Jan. 21. There will be two sets in this 8 p.m. show, and $25 tickets will be available online or at the door if still available.
Benin will be joined by a backup band including Glen Pearson on piano, Alcide Marshall on drums and Gregory Simmons on bass. Her repertoire stretches from jazz standards to R&B, Latin rhythms, and the blues. Her voice, creative interpretations of old standards is refreshing, and she puts her unique signature on every song.
This will be the fifth alliance between HCA and HJF to present jazz at the gallery. The first was almost a full year ago, on Feb. 23 with the Guarneri Double Quartet, an unusual assemblage of five musicians who configure themselves into two distinct quartets. Following that, on April 1, and friends played there; April 30 saw in performance; and on May 15 a jazz education seminar with was held.
Once again, the program will be a benefit concert for the Healdsburg Center for the Arts' Youth Art Education Program. "Healdsburg’s community art center has been working to broaden our realm in supporting the arts," said of HCA. "One HCA’s goals this year is to further expand our offerings of classes and programs for children."
JAZZ ON THE MENU
For the second year, HJF will present a fundraising ‘progressive party’ throughout Healdsburg with their Jazz on the Menu event, to be held Thursday, Feb. 2. Fifteen restaurants in the Healdsburg-Geyserville area will feature their signature dishes and live music from a wide variety of local and regional musicians.
Dinners will be served at the participating restaurants from 6 to 9 p.m., while an “After-Party” with dessert bar will be featured at from 7:30 to 10:30. As at last year’s event, the will open for the for a full night of swinging party jazz. There is a $10 ticket charge for this event; last year’s was free but quickly filled beyond capacity.
A complete list of participating restaurants and the musicians scheduled can be found on the Healdsburg Jazz Festival website. A portion of the proceeds go to help support Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s highly successful Music Education Programs.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
In February, and for the first time the HJF education programs will be expanded to include Black History Month, the social and cultural holiday. A school workshop and concert series will use music to present key figures and events from the Civil Rights Movement, and relate them to today’s students’ lives.
Bay Area bandleader Marcus Shelby will be the focus of the program, presenting “Martin Luther King and Jazz” workshops for grades 3-6 students at 8 area schools. His latest project is “Soul of the Movement,” released on CD in 2011. Featuring original compositions and arrangements for jazz orchestra and vocalists of traditional music, it presents the story of the Civil Rights Movement through musical works on significant figures and events in Black History.
“I’ve always wanted to do something for Black History Month here in Healdsburg,” said jazz festival artistic director Jessica Felix. “We tried to get a grant to fund a larger community project, but when that fell through we just went ahead and did it for the kids.”
Most events will be during the week of Feb. 6 - 10, in classrooms at Healdsburg Elementary and the charter school, Fitch Mountain, St. John’s, Geyserville Elementary, the Healdsburg School, Westside Elementary, and Healdsburg Junior High. In addition, there will be two “Soul of the Movement” concerts for student audiences only at the , performed by the Marcus Shelby Trio with vocalist Faye Carol – herself another veteran of HJF’s education program Operation Jazz Band