Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Passing Time at ESU

On a beautiful pre Autumnal day, East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of Pennsylvania held an Artist's Reception on Wednesday September 16th in their Madelon Powers Gallery which is located within the campus' Fine and Performing Arts Center for their exhibition titled, “Passage of Timefeaturing the work of Miharu Lane. The gallery was filled with art lovers who came to experience the work. Images gently touched the canvas while capturing a moment in time just before it resumed its temporal course. The hues and shadowing Ms. Lane employs in her depictions not only gives the image a sense of past and present but also allows the viewer to extrapolate upon the object's future. This was not only true of the images of man made items depicted but those who are denizens of the natural world as well.

The conversations shared by those who attended the reception reflected the theme of the exhibit as their words formed from the genesis of thought (with many inspired by the work), communicated through the presence of speech, and moved beyond their meanings toward a future of myriad interpretations. The verbal intercourse between individuals and small groups manifested the passage of time which the pieces created by Ms. Lane brought to the consciousness of each viewer. It was in this mode were those who experienced the work and the conversations it inspired were enhanced by its aesthetic and meaningful qualities. You'll find more photographs take during the Artist's Reception in the Passing Time at ESU Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154221985293761.1073741901.91146283760&type=3.

The Passage of Time exhibition featuring the work of Miharu Lane will continue to be on display at The Madelon Powers Gallery at ESU until September 30th. The work is splendid and allows the mind to expand to encompass the deeper concepts of time and how one should live one's life during our temporal existence. The next exhibition scheduled to take place in the gallery will feature the works of Ronald Gonzalez and Andrew Molinaro with an Artists' Reception and Talk scheduled to be held on Wednesday October 7th beginning at 4pm. The exhibit will continue to be on display in The Madelon Powers Gallery until November 6th. Please explore The Madelon Powers Gallery Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EsuArtGallery for more information.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Spirit of Life Touches COTA

It's been a year since Delaware Water Gap, PA's prestigious Jazz and Arts Festival took place in the Fall of 2014. The interim period between the 37th and 38th Annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA) festivals heralded a great deal of sadness among those who have enjoyed the presence of those who filled their hearts with music and love throughout the decades. All those who attended the festival from Friday September 11th to Sunday September 13th in 2015 throughout the town were touched by the loss of some wonderful people associated with the event that passed away during the year.

Along with the passing of Rick Chamberlain who co founded the festival and to whom this year's event was dedicated to, Eric Doney whose love for music extended from his compositions and performances into a future as manifested by all he taught and inspired, Bob Hartman who directed the Jazz Mass Choir until he retired from the position, Betty Evans who attended many festivals with her companion of 25 years, Ed Hudak, who has performed many times on the COTA Stage and tunes the piano between each set, Saxophonist Gil Barretto who played with his spirit as it entwined itself to every note his instrument sang, and Gerta Harriton whose love for the arts knew no bounds and proved to be a contagion no one sought a cure for were among the individuals who passed. So much love and music had become silent during the year but their essence lived on throughout the weekend of the festival as a joyous celebration of their lives. This life affirming joy emanated throughout the gathering of Jazz and Art lovers as their thoughtful reflections were accented by a loving tear.

Although the festival officially began at the town’s The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery, my adventures began at The Castle Inn Art Gallery which is located within The Shoppes at The Castle Inn Complex in Delaware Water Gap, PA. The gallery hosted an Artists' Reception/Publication Party featuring the artists and photographers who appears in the current issue of The Forwardian Arts Society's Literary and Arts Magazine, “Forwardian” and others. The Artists whose work appeared in the exhibit were Nancy Tully and Maria Filosa along with some friends of the magazine Kari Nespola and the Gallery's curator, Jose Santamaria. The beautiful images captured by each artist and photographer blessed the gallery along with those of the sizable gathering of art lovers who attended the event. It was a joy to experience and the exhibition will continue to be on display until sometime during the month of October. You'll be able to learn more about The Gallery at The Castle Inn from their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/historiccastleinn?ref=ts&fref=ts, The Castle Inn itself from their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Inn-Art-Gallery/159174520808670 as well as The Forwardian Arts Society from their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forwardian-Arts-Society/91146283760 or their Website at www.forwardianarts.org.

It was after I spent a great deal of time absorbing the art and conversation that permeated The Gallery at The Castle Inn that I ventured down to The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery (aka The Dutot) where the official beginning of The Celebration of the Arts festival took place with the Artists’ Reception for the gallery's Music Motif Show featuring pieces created by local artists, photographers, and sculptors whose imagery blended with the exhibit’s musical theme. Once I arrived at the gallery, I was greeted by the Classical Musical Trio known as Calliope playing in the parking lot. The ensemble consists Gina Bertucci and Barbara McMahon on Flute along with Laura Goss on Bassoon. It was a delight to be bathed in their musical renditions of Classical and Americana melodies until the gallery opened it's doors to invite the number of people listening to the music to enter the venue. I joined the majority and came inside.

The wonders of the images with the frames that hung upon the wall along with the sculpted pieces filled the senses with their visual symphony. The chord the overall exhibit struck lied deep within the heart and its music filled the denizens of the gallery with their aesthetic spirits. The exhibit was a juried one with prizes awarded to those whose creative skills exceeded those of their contemporaries. I was not present during the award ceremonies but I could surmise the selection of the winners was a difficult one as the caliber of the work made the task a daunting one. The jurors for the show were Ed Hudak, Jonno Rattman, and Nicole Rogai. The exhibition continues to be on display until September 20th. You can learn more about The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery through their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/DutotMuseumAndGallery or their Website at www.dutotmuseum.com.

I left the gallery to continue my festival journeys to The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain which is located across the street of the Dutot. The program presented at the church was titled, “The Other Arts” which featured an evening filled with classical music, theater, and dance. The evening began with some welcoming remarks given by The Reverent Sherry Blackman who is the minister of the church. She then introduced a young woman who shared her words relating to the town's Deer Head Inn. Her poetry touched the memories of those who frequented the establishment to enjoy its food, music, and hospitality. The completion of her words led to a plaque filled with them to be given to the Deer Head Inn's owner, Denny Carrig.

As the well deserved applause subsided, Peter Sylvester took the stage to greet the gathering before introducing the first of many he would do so to the crowd. The Marsha Cahn Ensemble filled the sanctuary with gentle music that honored those among the COTA family that passed beyond. The trio of classical musicians consisted of Marsha Cahn on viola, Chris Souza on violin, and Agnieszka Rybska on cello.

The Marsha Cahn Ensemble were followed by The Totts Gap Dancers who are from The Totts Gap Arts Institute (TGAI) located in Bangor, PA performing pieces choreographed by Angeline Wolf. The first piece they performed was titled, “Gravity” as performed by Laura Buzzard with music by Sarah Bareilles. The second piece the company performed was a solo dance titled, “These Three Things” as a tribute to Eric Doney. Angeline Wolf provided her movement to the Bach Goldberg Variations that accompanied her. The final dance piece was titled, “Friends” with music by Cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. The dancers were Laura Buzzard, Kristen Stopfer, Sophia Villano, and Amber Ward. The entirety of The Totts Gap Dancers performance touched the emotions of their audience in unique and meaningful ways that lingered on long after the final step was placed. You can learn more about The Totts Gap Arts Institute through their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/totts.arts or their Website at www.tottsgap.org.

The Water Gap Players Theater Group took the stage with a piece titled, “Hello” written by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook as performed by Denny Carrig and Dave Hymes. For those who have seen the classic skit before, the duo's sense of timing and stage pretense brought an energy to the work and made it their own. The theatrical group later returned to the stage with another theatrical piece titled, “The Grape Business” written by Deborah Savadge and performed by Denny Carrig and Julie Sylvester. The play was very amusing as it dealt with the infighting that takes place among thespians and was very well done by the actors.

Members of The Water Gap Players Theater Group also consisted of Betsy Jackson who read two passages from her upcoming book with the first titled, “A Desired Thing” and the second passage titled, “Please No Life Stories.” The readings were filled with healthy portions of laughter and thoughtful reflection. Performance artist, Ann Mathews was also among those who shared her talents upon the stage with the first monologue titled, “Surrendering” and the second titled, “Relaxation” which closed the evening's performance as the audience participated in song and movement. It also ended the first day of the three day Jazz and Arts Festival which led those who attended “The Other Arts” performance at The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain to share their farewells as they prepared to partake of another day of the Celebration of the Arts. You can learn more about The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain and what the venue offers through their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Presbyterian-Church-of-the-Mountain/234593743269661 or their Website at www.churchofthemountain.org.

I arrived the next day at the festival site at 8am to learn what duties were to be performed in my capacity as a member of the COTA Security Team. The Security Command Center was filled with my fellow Security Team members with many of whom I became friends with during the years. It was a delight to see them as well as meeting those who were new to the festival. It was after a time did I learn of my first assignment which was the area known as The Back Gate and was partnered with a newcomer named “Ian.” There was some time before our shift would begin so I ventured to the food court to purchase my customary festival breakfast of a delicious egg, ham, and cheese sandwich on a croissant at The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain’s food booth.

It was then that I spotted a dove resting near the food area. I reflected on his presence especially when I learned it had been in the same spot for quite some time. I shared my observation with someone who said it was the spirit of one of the festival's departed. I pondered the perception in my heart as I went to The Back Gate which is an entry point to a number of people closely associated with the festival. These include musicians, members of COTA's Board of Directors, food vendor owners and workers, Special Guests, and so on. It was a delight to be among the company who greeted those who passed through the gate. In what seemed like a matter of minutes, our two hour shift was over and we were relived by fellow members of our the Security team. I then ventured back to the Security Command Center before exploring the festival that was about to begin.

The Nancy Reed Trio filled the air with their mood enhancing sounds. The trio consisted of Nancy Reed www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Reed/1417009245195892 on vocals, Jim Ridl on Piano, and Steve Varner on Bass along with Special Guests Spencer Reed www.reedjazz.com on guitar and vocals and Bill Goodwin on drums. It was while listening to their soothing melodies did I leisurely stroll to visit the many artists, artisans, and merchants who shared their talents and merchandise with those who entered their booth. They included Susan Bradford and Anita Bondi (Madala Design Works), Tim Helman (mixed media), David Coulter (Photography), Linda Newswanger (Git Lit Stained Glass), Bud Nealy (Knives), Susan Lange (Massage Therapist), Jim Smeltz (Art), Elizabeth Smeltz (Jewelery), Nettie Price (Sparkling Art), Patrice Jiunta (The Jeweler’s Work Bench www.facebook.com/jewelersworkbench.bartonsville), Aita and Keith Carmichael (La Linguere Fashion www.aitafashion.com), Ron Ford (Photography), Harriet Ford (Jewelery), Constance Fowlkes (Weaving and Paintings), Michael Kane (Designs), Ursula Pooley (Jewelery), Trudy Schanewof (Suds Soapworks www.facebook.com/SudsSoapworks), Pia Somerlock (Pottery), Darcy Chamberlain (The COTA Apparel Store), and The Shoppes at The Castle Inn who were also present to share their wares and endeavors. It was great to visit them all.

It was during my conversations with the vendors did I feel the first of the many raindrops that would fall that day. It was also during this time did I witness the exodus of festival goers travel from the hillside where they were seated to the backstage area that had been prepared so they could experience the music while remaining unencumbered by the impending storm. I joined them as musicians gathered on the inner stage to present their tribute to Eric Doney which consisted of several sets that featured the music Eric loved, the music he inspired, and the intuitive logic and joy of his own originals. These sets were performed by past students, friends, and musical collaborators as introduced by Bobby Avery who performed on piano. Musicians who shared their talents in celebrating the life of Eric Doney included Mitch Cheng and Davey Lantz on piano, Patrick McGee on saxophone, Zach Brock on violin www.facebook.com/zachbrockmusic?fref=ts, Vaughan Stoffey on guitar, Connor Koch on bass, and Tyler Dempsey on drums www.facebook.com/Tyler-Dempsey-110164742558/timeline. The performance also included a number of unscheduled musicians which included Will Garrison on Harmonica www.willgalison.com. The selections each grouping of musicians rendered combined the beauty embodied within the piece with a haunting sensation that communicated how much Eric was missed. It was a fitting tribute to Eric by those he inspired through his talent and love.

The tribute to Eric Doney was followed by a performance given by The New Quintet www.facebook.com/TheNeWQuintet?fref=ts with Elijah Thomas on flute, Marcell Bellinger on trumpet, Jeremy Sowers on drums, Dave Marion on guitar, and Max Krause on bass. Together, their ability to coax even the most subtle nuance of each composition filled the audience with awe. They were followed by the COTA Festival Orchestra which usually features Phil Woods as its saxophone soloist but he was unable to attend the festival this year due to health concerns. However, the band did play on with his unseen presence guiding them as they were conducted by alto saxophonist Matt Vashlishan.

The orchestra consisted of Nelson Hill on alto saxophone, Tom Hamilton and David Demsey on tenor saxophone, Jay Rattman on baritone saxophone, Nathan Eklund on lead trumpet, Chris Persad, Sean McAnally, and Vanessa Jacob on trumpet, Fred Scott, Sam Burtis, and Scott Chamberlain on trombone, Dan Magan on bass trombone, Spencer Reed on guitar, Skip Wilkins on piano, Connor Koch on bass, and Tom Whaley on drums. Together, they played melodies that transcended the art of Jazz. They were joined by Bob Dorough who lent his incredible voice to the set. You can learn more about The COTA Festival Orchestra through their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/CotaFestivalOrchestra or their Website at www.cotajazz.org/cota-festival-orchestra.

It was during part of the COTA Festival Orchestra's performance did I venture to the food court in order to fulfill my need to eat.
There were many food vendors to choose from which included offerings from Zoe’s Ice Cream Emporium, The Friends of DWG, The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain, Quench Cafe and Juice Bar www.facebook.com/pages/Quench-on-6th-Cafe-and-Juice-Bar/214752245221024, Boy Scout Troop 84, the Girl Scouts, The Willow Tree Inn www.facebook.com/willow.inn?fref=ts, The Lions Club, and Cafe Duet www.facebook.com/cafeduetstbg?fref=ts. The decision what to eat was a difficult one to make but I eventually decided upon a bowl of Black Bean and Rice with Chicken mixed with some sour cream and hot sauce I got from The Willow Tree Inn. The weather had a cold, dampness about it and I wanted something warm so I added some additional heat to the plate by pouring all of the hot sauce I received upon the dish. I acquired the effect too effectively. As I walked in the still drizzling rain, the droplets that touched my skin turned to steam since my body heat had risen due to my consuming such a spicy meal. But, it was good and well worth it. Yum.

It was after my meal did I encounter Sheilamark www.facebook.com/SheilaMark-Band-152690641429026 who were the strolling musicians for the day. The duo consists of Sheila Stratton-Hamza on vocals and Mark Hamza on accordion. Together, their songs enchanted those who were fortunate enough to hear them. I listened for a while before going over to the Security Command Center to learn of my next assignment. I was asked to relieve a fellow member of Security named, “Fran” from her position at the Front Gate. I gladly agreed as the rain began to increase its density. I arrived at the position and she was glad to be able to become dry again. I watched the gate, as the position called for, to ascertain which of those entering the festival had a wrist band on to signify they had paid to do so.

In the distance, I faintly heard the music of Expansions - The David Liebman Group www.daveliebman.com/expansions.php featuring David Liebman and Matt Vashlishan on saxophone, Bobby Avey on piano, Tony Marino on bass, and Alex Ritz on drums. I could not hear each note nor could I discriminate their nuanced delivery distinctively, but I was able to feel some of the music through the raindrops that carried their essence upon their watery souls. It was a good feeling.

However, the chilled temperatures of the day and the overbearing rain that fell throughout most of it instilled in me a tired feeling. So, as my shift at the front gate ended. I decided to go home for the night. This meant I was unable to stay for the final performance of the day which was Tom Hamilton and The Work In Progress Band www.tomhamiltonsax.com that featured Tom Hamilton on saxophone, Bill Washer on guitar, Steve Rudolph on piano, Jim McGee on bass, Daniel Gonzalez on drums, and Bob Velez on congas as they played a collection of original funk, Latin, and soulful grooves. I'm sure I would had danced to the beat of their songs. But, I needed to rest and I went home to do so.

I awoke the next day to the welcomed sight of sunshine peeking through my bedroom window. I then left the house and enjoyed viewing the mist that covered the the rock formations that lined route 611 as I traveled toward the Delaware Water Gap. Once there, I met with my comrades at the Security Command Center where where I was paired with my new partner for the day, Fran. After we and other members of the Security Team learned we were to begin our first shifts at Noon, I ventured down to The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain’s booth to obtain another customary Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich on a croissant for the day before attending the Festival's Annual Jazz Mazz.

The Annual Jazz Mass has become a favorite among festival goers for the music and for the meaningful messages conveyed through the insights shared by the clergy who participate. The service began with a few words about service's history as given by Bill Cohea who was the Interim Pastor of The Church of the Mountain. He shared how he and the late Rick Chamberlain (co Founder of COTA) worked together to create the beloved gathering along with how it grew throughout the years. The conclusion of his words led to a prelude to the service and was followed by a call to worship led by The Reverend Karen Nickels (Retired from The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain) who served as Liturgist, Reverend Sherry Blackman (The Current Pastor of The Church of the Mountain) and who served as Worship Leader along with and Bill Cohea who served as liturgist emeritus. The music for the Mass was composed by the late Rich Chamberlain (co Founder of COTA), Wolfgang Knittel, David Ellis, and Mark Kirk who conducted the orchestra which included a number of Jazz greats. The Jazz Mass Choir and their melodious voices flowed under the direction of Teresa Marino along with solo performances given by Michele Bautier, Denny Carrig, and Bonnie Childs. The days meditation (aka Sermon) was given by Reverend Sherry and was titled “The Song of Creation.” It was during the Jazz Mass that it was revealed the COTA Stage had been renamed to “The Rick Chamberlain Stage” in honor the the late co founder.

It was at the conclusion of the Jazz Mass did I and my fellow members of security performed the customary act of asking those attending the service to leave the site so the front gate would be able to meet the festival’s financial needs to determine who paid to enjoy the rest of the event. While the process was being enacted, The Lost Ramblers performed near the front gate area entertaining everyone with their well known renditions of bluegrass and country music making the necessary process of waiting in line an enjoyable one. The Lost Ramblers consists of John Updike on the Five String Banjo, Neil Morris on Guitar, Jim Schaffer on Bass Fiddle, Tony DeMarco on Fiddle, Anthony Hannigan on Mandolin and Fiddle, and Jillian Hannigan on Flute and Pennywhistle.

It was after my return to the security command center did I spy members of the team preparing the schedule for the day. This led to my partner, Fran, and I being sent to the back gate area to start the day. It was at this time did the day's festivities began with The Su Terry Group www.sueterry.net with Su Terry on saxophone and clarinet, Vic Juris on guitar, Tony Marino on bass, and Bill Goodwin on drums. I could not hear them from our vantage point but I could tell from the faces of those who passed by the area to retrieve something from their parked car that the music they played had a welcomed effect upon them.

After our shift, I returned to the back stage area to experience the COTA Cats Volume XXXV preparing to perform. I then moved toward the stage and saw The Dixie Gents with Bob Leive on trumpet, Ken Foy on trombone, Jay Rattman on clarinet, Paul Hubbell on saxophone, Paul Scott on tuba, and Ray Schweisguth on banjo giving one of their rare stage performance as they usually serve the festival as a strolling band led by its creator, Rick Chamberlain. The selections they played were both arousing and thoughtful as their tribute to Rick allowed the heart to express their love for the man in tearful appreciations.

The final notes which flowed from the Dixie Gents led me to explore the festival site to discover the many wonders it had for the day. One of these wonders was the newly established Rising Star Stage designed to showcase the enduring talents of young jazz musicians who were recently a member of the COTA Cats and/or attendees of the festival's CampJazz program. Upon the Rising Star stage, which was near the children's area, when I first visited was The William Mullen Trio with William Mullen on Saxophone, Scott Edmunds on Piano, and an unscheduled musician on Bass. They played to a sizable crowd who joyously rode on every note that was given to them.

It was after hearing The William Mullen Trio did I venture toward the Rick Chamberlain Stage to partake of the marvelous sounds created by the COTA Cats Volume XXXV www.cotajazz.org/cota-cats who is a big band consisting of high school students attending area schools who have an interest and proficiency in the musical art of Jazz. The COTA Cats were established in 1981 through the efforts of COTA Co Founders Phil Woods and the late Rick Chamberlain who sought to inspire and mentor local area high school musicians in the fine art of big band performance. Although each COTA Cat possess exceptional talent, there are some who are recognized for having special promise and are awarded scholarships so they may continue their musical education. This year, the recipients of these scholarships were Jonathan Williams who will be attending The University of the Arts to study music business, Nikki Nordmark who will be attending Ithaca College to study Vocal Performance, and William Mullen who will be attending Temple University to study Jazz Education.

The blending of sounds among the young musicians filled the audience with a deeper love and appreciation for jazz as manifested by the fresh approach of these cats. The selections they performed were particularly touching to the crowd especially the composition titled, “7 Bone Special” written by COTA Board Member Sherrie Maricle www.facebook.com/divajazz?fref=ts with love to Rick Chamberlain. I went back stage after the performance and experienced the excited energies of these young people as they placed their instruments in their cases and spoke rapidly about what had transpired. It was during this time did I wonder when I started referring to individuals their age as “Young People.”

It was after this sight did I venture down to the food court to partake of its varied cuisine. Among all of the exotic selections that were available, I decided to go with something simple and bought a cheese burger from The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain. Hmmm it was good. I then decided to have some ice cream from Zoe’s Ice Cream Emporium. That was really good. I was eating the last bite of my ice cream when I was lured to the Rising Star Stage by the sounds of The Mitch Chen Trio with Mitch Cheng on Piano, Connor Koch on Bass, and Fred Griggs on Drums. Together they captured the essence of the compositions they played which in turn created a home within all who were fortunate enough to hear their renderings.

It was after their set was completed did I return to the Security Command Center to learn of my next assignment. My partner, Fran, and I met at the front gate. While there, Adam Niewood's Paradigm Shift www.facebook.com/Adam-Niewood-62039199022 with Adam Niewood on drums, Dick Oatts and Greg Osby on saxophones, Gene Perla and Tony Marino on bass, and Vic Juris on guitar were performing on the Rick Chamberlain Stage. I vaguely heard the musicians as they wooed the audience but the energies they created through their music could be felt on a non hearing level.

While I performing my tasks at the Front Gate, Fran's friend came by with a piece of cake in a small box to give to her. He also had another container that held a hot dog and a slice of apple pie which he offered to me. I gladly accepted them and enjoyed their delicious effects during our shift. Sometime later, I was asked to escort a woman and her daughter who only wanted entry to the festival site in order to purchase a commemorative tee shirt of the event. I did so and the woman gave me a bag of Empanadas which proved to be delicious. It was during our shift when we were visited by Theresa Veltri who is the co owner of the town's Castle Inn and was informed the establishment held a BBQ dinner the previous day. She invited us to visit the establishment later for a meal consisting of the left overs. The invitation was well received.

Our shift ended and I walked back to the Security Command Center while taking photos of even more sights of the festival. The Bob Dorough Quartet www.bobdorough.com with Bob Dorough on piano and vocals, Steve Berger on guitar, Pat O'Leary on bass, and Tom Whaley on drums were finishing their set with an encore which culminated the wonders of his performance to the delight of all including those (like me) who missed most of it. I then traveled to the Castle Inn to partake of the culinary delights it had to offer. I had an enjoyable meal shared with a number of friends whose conversation enhanced the taste of the already delicious victuals. It was after this enchanting visit did I return to the festival to experience more of it's music.

The Brass Arts Collective with Tony Kadleck, David Spier, and Neil Balm on trumpet, Mike Christianson and Bruce Eidem on trombone, Nathan Durham on bass trombone and tuba, Jon Ballantyne on piano, Evan Gregor on bass, and Bill Goodwin on drums were upon the Rick Chamberlain Stage performing a mixture of Jazz styles that delighted the audience. The were followed by The Bobby Syvarth Combo www.bobbysyvarth.com with Bobby Syvarth on guitar and vocals, Tim Carbone on violin, Damian Calcagne on the Hammond B3 organ, Len Mooney on piano, Sean Villere on bass, and Ian Carroll on drums who were the final performance of the concert. The music they performed was lively and I was sure many music lovers would soon be out to dance to their beats. However, I could not stay to experience this as I had to, unexpectedly, terminate my stay. This was unfortunate but the memories the festival created endured through the disappointment of my sudden exit. It was a great weekend and I look forward to next year's festival. You’ll find the photographs I took during the Forwardian Artists' Reception at the Castle Inn Gallery and the 38th Annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA) in The Spirit of Life Touches COTA Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154205772603761.1073741900.91146283760&type=3.

In addition to its annual festival, The Celebration of the Arts presents CampJazz which is offered every summer to those who seek an intensive, week long immersion in jazz music and technique mentored by renowned jazz greats. CampJazz was formed in 2007 by Phil Woods and the late Rick Chamberlain (co-founders of COTA) as an extension of the festival and its educational arm to foster and encourage local talent in a more relaxed environment than that found in a school setting offering a staff of mentors who are well established in the national and international Jazz community. Scholarship are available to those who wish to attend but are unable to afford the participation fee. These include the Richard (Richy) Barz, Ethan Moyer, Bob Hartman, Robert J. Fleese, and Gil Barretto Memorial Scholarships along with those established by CampJazz Supporters and The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain. In addition to these, a special COTA Big Band Scholarship has been established for non Monroe County, PA residents who wish to participate in the camp. You can learn more about the COTA CampJazz from their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Campjazz or their Website at www.campjazz.org.

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) Jazz and Arts Festival began in 1978 by Phil Woods, the recently departed Rich Chamberlain, and the late Ed Joubert. It takes place every year during the Weekend after Labor Day. From its humble beginnings which consisted of a 4 hour concert held on risers near the steps of an Annex of the Castle Inn with an audience of just over 500 people which was mostly made up of friends, family, and some ardent jazz fans, the festival has evolved to become a Mecca for jazz enthusiasts throughout the world. The three day festival is presently presented in cooperation with the Borough of Delaware Water Gap, PA, The Castle Hill Development, Inc., and the Delaware Water Gap, PA Joint Toll Bridge Commission. Music presented at the festival is recorded by Chiaroscuro Records for later release. In addition to it’s annual festival, The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) also supports the arts and the music of jazz in all its forms and historical breadth through youth education, performing arts presentations, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Pocono area.

Those who would like to lend their time and talents to The 39th Annual Celebration of the Arts Jazz and Arts Festival are welcomed to attend COTA’s Volunteer Meetings. They are held at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA during the Spring and Summer Months. The festival and all its functions is organized and run by volunteers. Numerous volunteer positions are available and they include Back and Front gate workers along with Security and Stage Crew personnel. I hope to see you at a future meeting so we can serve the festival together while creating some wonderful memories. Please feel free to explore The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/COTA-Celebration-Of-The-Arts/234094683405815 or visit their website at www.cotajazz.org for more information about the festival, what the organization has to offer the community, and how you can be involved in all they do. Thank you for reading this article.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Some Final COTA Touches

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held their final General Meeting prior to their 38th Annual Jazz and Arts Festival which is scheduled to be held September 11th - 13th throughout the town of Delaware Water Gap, PA on Tuesday September 8th. The meeting place, which was in the town's The Deer Head Inn www.facebook.com/deerhead.inn, was filled with individuals and their thoughts of the festival that would be occurring within a few days. Remaining tasks were spoken of with reports of their completion or near completion and were greeted with a thoughtful appreciation for the update by the company.

The meeting came to a close with some thoughtful sentiments shared by Board of Directors member, Garth Woods, who expressed his heartfelt appreciation to all who spent their time and talents bringing this year's festival together. He also talked about how the festival orginates from the love of all who participates in it and, while this year has seen a great deal of sadness due to the passing of several people intimately involved in the festival, it is this love that continues and will continue to make the festival something wonderful. It was with these words that a moment of reflective silence before an applause echoed throughout the venue leading to the ajournment of the meeting and thoughts of the festival with all the blessings it provides. I look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, you’ll find more photographs taken during the September 8th meeting in The Some Final COTA Touches Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154190372048761.1073741899.91146283760&type=3.

The mission of The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) is to present and to support the art of jazz in all its forms and historical breadth through youth education, performing arts presentations, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Pocono area. Please Explore The Celebration of the Arts Facebook Page at
www.facebook.com/pages/COTA-Celebration-Of-The-Arts/234094683405815, their Website at www.cotajazz.org, or by calling 570-424-2210 to learn how you can become a volunteer and to learn for more information all about COTA has to offer.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.