Recently my wife, Lois, and I attended a church service led by Jim Middleton and Igor Glenn at Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Chandler, Ariz., a suburb of Scottsdale. The service was described as a U.U. Gospel and Rockabilly Revival. We attended the 10:30 a.m. service and were met by a large and enthusiastic crowd of church members, all anxious to hear the program written and conducted by these two church members.
It was a good musical service with guitarists Middleton and Glenn leading a group consisting of a keyboardist, Al McGarrity; two vocalists, Alesa Gallian and Laurie Fagen; a tuba player, Buddy Apfel, amd a reedman, Big John Cieslak. They played and sang some 16 tunes from the traditional jazz book as well as well known selections by Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Paul Simon. The congregation really got into it with their singing and applause at the end of each tune, all of which were preceded by a short reading by Middleton or Glenn, followed by a question, "What Would Jesus Sing?" It was an interesting and well done program despite the acoustic problems within the sanctuary. I'd like to hear this program repeated in another church or location, or perhaps at a local folk festival for their Sunday morning service.
The Arizona Chapter of the new Washboarditionist Society of America is open to all washboard players and ragtimers who use a washboard. If you are interested in joining the group, contact me at (480) 348-3702.
My wife, Lois, and I have been having a great time performing with the Scottsdale Strummers, a ukelele band that was formed here about a year ago. It's led by ukelele artist Pat McInnis and meets to practice every Friday morning. The Strummers have already performed at the Flagstaff Folk Festival and at a number of private engagements here in the Valley of the Sun. The Strummers are scheduled to play at the Prescott (Ariz.) Folk Festival and the West Valley Music Festival, both in October. You can contact Pat at (480) 946-3936 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Ragtime pianist Sister Jean Huling and her grandson, Kenan Leslie (who's taken over his late grandfather's spot on washboard), will travel from the Cleveland, Ohio area to the Valley of the Sun to perform for the Ragtyme-JazzTyme Society. Their performances will include a special school program at the Pappas Middle School on Friday, Oct. 24. On Saturday, they will play a concert at the Church of the White Spire Pilgrimage Hall (open to the public), and on Sunday, they will be in concert at the West Valley Art Museum for the Annual Music Festival there, alternating with the Scottsdale Strummers from noon until 3 p.m. Call me at (480) 348-3702 for more information and directions.
Also coming up: The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival on Nov. 6-9. For info, check www.azclassicjazz.org.
We hope you'll continue your efforts to support live jazz. In the meantime, keep jazzin'!