Letter To The Editor


Dear editor,

On September 19, a new jazz festival launched in Anne Arundel County: Art in the Park presented by Jazz Beyond Borders. This community event brought top-shelf jazz groups, fine arts and international cuisine to the courtyard and interior of Cafe Mezzanotte in Severna Park.

Our goal was to create a community event promoting music and art. In this and all of our activities, our vision is to foster appreciation for cultural diversity and artistic excellence in a cordial and inviting atmosphere, inspiring and entertaining people of many backgrounds and interests.

To carry out our mission, we assembled a top-notch advisory board. Led by executive director Paulina Phillips and artistic director Mark Wade, board members include Ruby Singleton Blakeney, Omrao Brown, Michael Buckley, Richard Rausch and Teri Leggio Wade.

The master of ceremonies was WRNR radio host Michael Buckley, known for award-winning radio program “Sunday Brunch.” Music began with global jazz trio Amoroso featuring guitarist/vocalist Richard Rausch, vocalist Elizabeth Melvin and Dick Glass on Flugelhorn. The JoGo Project was electrifying. Led by saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, the group featured vocalist JusPaul, bassist Eliot Seppa, drummer Tyler Leak, percussionist Mike Burney and Greg Boyer on trombone. Some audience members were moved to get up and dance! As the sun faded, Balbed returned for the final set with the Balbed/Arnold/Berkowitz Trio and the audience clearly wanted the day to last even longer.

We loved the displays of fine art supplied by the Benfield Gallery, Gallery 564, McBride Gallery and Side Street Framers, and artist demonstrations by Kathy Daywalt, Abigail McBride and Paul DeRemigis, Jr. Attendees also enjoyed winetasting and sampling organic produce from Scott Davis.

Jazz Beyond Borders was pleased to partner with Kosmas “Tommie” Koukoulis of Café Mezzanotte and Jonathan Katz of the Severna Park Voice, who added visual art to the event. They helped us turn the courtyard into a feast for the eyes, ears and appetite! We thank WNAV, What’s Up? Annapolis, Bay Weekly and Chesapeake Bay Media for spreading the word.

We thank volunteers Coniece Washington, Ruby Singleton Blakeney, Della Sztuk and Jackie Pruner and our amazing JBB Intern Kristoffer Beljica. Our audience included music fans who have supported the past two years of “Jazz at the Mezz” concerts, which inspired the festival. Helping behind the scenes were Henry Wong of An die Musik Live, Sean Johnson, Hazel Mitchell-Bell, Seth Kibel, Philip Kaplan, Michael Joseph Harris, Tony Spencer and our dear friends at Baltimore Jazz Alliance. With everyone’s help, we were able to balance the budget and make a small contribution to The Food Project this year.

We are truly grateful for our growing audience of world music and jazz fans and look forward to next year’s festival. Meanwhile, our final concert in the 2021 “Jazz at the Mezz” series takes place Sunday, November 21, with world-class Gypsy jazz band Hot Club of Baltimore. Tickets are available from the Café Mezzanotte page on InstantSeats.

In appreciation,

Theresa Sise
Production Coordinator
Art in the Park presented by Jazz Beyond Borders


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