Friday, September 13, 2013

Big Band Jazz needs support in Naples – NOW

In just four seasons, Southwest Florida’s Naples Jazz Orchestra has developed into one of the state’s finest big bands. That’s no exaggeration. Some of the band's crack musicians drive two or three hours each way to rehearse and perform with the band because the experience is worth the commute. The NJO can hold its own with any big band anywhere.  The issue is – will it have a season five in January through April 2014 and if so, where will it be?

The Naples City Council is scheduled to holds a workshop on Monday morning and to vote Wednesday whether to allow the big band to continue to use the band shell at beautiful Cambier Park in downtown Naples for its Monday evening series. It  is scheduled to open January 6 featuring The Four Freshmen as special guests.
The mayor and/or other powers-that-be in Naples apparently feel that parking downtown becomes a problem during those concerts, which easily draw several thousand listeners with lawn chairs. More cars in the area on a Monday evening should not be a factor here. The pick up in ancillary business from concert goers at area shops and restaurants certainly isn’t a problem in my view.

Here’s a link to some local coverage.
If you’re one of the thousands who go to these shows, now is the time to step up – and attend the workshop and/or hearing, or at least to call or email the City Council. If you know one of the council members personally, definitely pick up the phone.

The Naples Jazz Orchestra with Doc Severinsen
As Musical Director Bob Stone wrote again today on Facebook: “The fight is not over, please send an email to: or phone 239-213-1000 and let them know, SAVE THE NAPLES JAZZ ORCHESTRA! PLEASE DO IT TODAY!
Anyone who loves live music, regardless of style, should consider this a personal issue.

As Joni Mitchell waxed so philosophically in “Big Yellow Taxi”: "you don't know what you've got 'til it's  gone."
Don’t let Naples lose one of its arts treasures. Keep in mind that more than live music is at stake here. So is jazz education, for the money raised at the NHO’s concerts support full music scholarships for its youth orchestra.

It would be folly for the Council to end this series, not that common sense is a required character trait for politicians near and far. They also need to remember that musicians and music fans are also voters – with long memories.

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