Litchfield Performing Arts, the not-for-profit producer of The Litchfield Jazz Festival and its teaching arm, 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 was designed to show off the talents of outstanding campers and to introduce a debuting artist at Litchfield Jazz Festival this August at the Goshen Fairgrounds.
Under the direction of saxophonist/composer and Operations Director of Litchfield Jazz Camp, Albert Rivera
(a former camper himself), campers and young professionals entertained more than 100 guests after they enjoyed a 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.
The featured performer of the afternoon was pianist Helen Sung
and her Trio. Helen began teaching at Litchfield Jazz Camp in 2010 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, Mr. Lenz invited, for a second year, John Dankosky, CT Public Radio’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 from July 8 through August 10, 2012 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, CT August 10-12. For information, to register for camp, for festival tickets or to make a donation toward Litchfield Jazz Camp scholarships, visit litchfieldjazzfest.com or call 860-361-6285.