Litchfield Performing Arts, the not-for-profit that puts on The Litchfield Jazz Festival and its jazz education program, Litchfield Jazz Camp, held a successful fundraiser on April 29 at the home of its board president Bob Lenz and his wife Carol. The Afternoon of Jazz & Friends, which raised $15,000 for Jazz Camp scholarships, is an intimate event in a breathtaking setting in South Kent. The event showcased the talents of outstanding campers and gave the audience a taste of an artist debuting at Litchfield Jazz Festival this August at the Goshen Fairgrounds.
Litchfield Jazz Camp started in 1997, the year after the first Litchfield Jazz Festival. Not long after, it became a residential program where students from all over the country have the opportunity to learn and enjoy the music and experience. One of those young people was then fifteen year old saxophonist Albert Rivera from the Bronx in New York City. He attended on scholarship and then grew with the program, first as a student, then a resident assistant, then a teaching assistant, and now the Operations Director. At the fundraiser he led a band of campers and young professionals who entertained more than 100 guests after they enjoyed a really lovely meet and greet cocktail hour.
In the band were camp students, vocalist Rocio Gosende, scholarship camper turned resident assistant, and twins Nicole and Erin Connelly, trombonist and trumpeter respectively, who have been scholarship students for the past three summers at Litchfield Jazz Camp and are off to Townson University this Fall. Backing them were camp Junior Faculty member of three years, pianist Beck Burger, and drummer Ian Carroll, a SUNY Purchase graduate who plays with several NY-based dance companies and teachers privately.
Vocalist Rocio Gosende spoke of her experience at the camp, having been “discovered” by Music Director Don Braden and I when she was a student member of the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra. She spoke about how she played trombone at the time and had only just started singing, but at Litchfield Jazz Camp she was encouraged and inspired to sing, which is now her primary focus as she finishes her sophomore year of college as a music major. She sang a beautiful arrangement of “I Wish You Love,” by Albert A. Beach and Charles Trenet, a song that I introduced her to while at camp.
The featured performer of the afternoon was pianist Helen Sung and her Trio. Helen began teaching at Litchfield Jazz Camp two summers ago and makes her festival debut on Saturday, August 11th. A prize-winning classical pianist before jazz intervened “in the form of a Tommy Flanagan solo,” Sung is a Graduate of Thelonious Monk Institute and winner of the Kennedy Center’s prestigious Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition. Sung appears with her own groups and outstanding ensembles, like the Mingus Big Band, T.S. Monk Band, and Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy winning Mosaic Project. Thanks to the generosity of the Lenzs’, who hosted for the third year in a row, the Litchfield Jazz Camp Scholarship Fund has grown to $65,000, a small but meaningful step toward its long term goal of $2,000,000. The Camp supports over a quarter of its annual population of 450+ students on need-based scholarships.
To add to the success of the event, Bob invited, for a second year, John Dankosky, WNPR’s News Director and host of Where We Live, to serve as celebrity auctioneer. Lenz, a retired advertising executive and a noted artist, offered two paintings to the highest bidders.
Litchfield Jazz Camp runs July 8 through August 10 at Kent School in Kent, CT. Places are still available for students age 13 to adult. The camp culminates with all its campers invited to play on a second stage at the renowned Litchfield Jazz Festival which returns to the Goshen Fairgrounds in Goshen August 10-12. For information, to register for camp or for festival tickets visit www.litchfieldjazzfest.com or call 860-361-6285.
–Lindsey Turner, PR/Marketing Director and daughter of the founder of Litchfield Jazz Camp.
On April 29, 2012, Litchfield Performing Arts held a successful fundraiser to support its programs: The Litchfield Jazz Festival and Litchfield Jazz Camp. The fundraiser, An Afternoon of Jazz and Friends, was held at the home of Litchfield Performing Arts board president Bob Lenz and his wife Carol. Showcasing the talents of outstanding Jazz Camp students, the event raised $15,000 for the camp scholarship fund while offering a pleasant preview of artists who will debut at this August’s Litchfield Jazz Festival at the Goshen Fairgrounds.
Former camper Albert Rivera, who first attended Litchfield Jazz Camp on a scholarship and is now its Operations Director, led a band of campers and young performers in entertaining fundraiser guests after a meet-and-greet cocktail hour. They were followed by the featured performer of the afternoon, pianist Helen Sung and her Trio.
Helen became a teacher at Litchfield Jazz Camp two summers ago and makes her festival debut this summer. Before focusing on jazz, Helen was a prize-winning classical pianist. She graduated from Thelonious Monk Institute and is a winner of the Kennedy Center’s prestigious Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition.
An Afternoon of Jazz and Friends also included a celebrity auction led by John Dankosky, WNPR’s News Director and host of Where We Live. The auction featured two of Lenz’s own paintings and contributed to the success of the event. The Litchfield Jazz Camp Scholarship Fund has grown to $65,000, thanks to the generosity of the Lenz family in hosting the fundraiser for the third year in a row. With a long-term goal of $2,000,000, however, the Scholarship Fund will continue to rely on the support and generosity of music and jazz enthusiasts. Litchfield Jazz Camp supports more than a quarter of its 450 campers each year on need-based scholarships.
Litchfield Jazz Camp runs July 8 through August 10 at Kent School in Kent, CT. Places are still available for students age 13 to adult. The camp culminates with all its campers invited to play on a second stage at the renowned Litchfield Jazz Festival, which returns to the Goshen Fairgrounds in Goshen from August 10-12. For information, to register for camp, or for festival tickets visit www.litchfieldjazzfest.com or call 860-361-6285.