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Jazz in the ParkSponsored by the City of Grand Rapids

Monday Night at the Park Concerts
Ah Nab Awen Park, 220 Front Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
June 6 thru August 15 from 6:30 till 8:30 PM

The City of Grand Rapids is proud to sponsor Jazz in the Park!

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July 25 – Gustavo Cortiñas

Cortiñas has a strong foundation in jazz which began at age 10 with the musical traditions of his native Mexico. His playing has been described as having a new and fresh sound. Gustavo is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and in 2013 he received a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. He and his group have been performing regularly in Chicago, and touring throughout the USA, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Gustavo is also a composer and educator.

With Gustavo on drums, the rest of the band will be Justin Copeland on trumpet, Euan Edmunds on trombone, Artie Black on tenor sax,Hans Luchs on guitar, Joaquín García on  piano and  Kitt Lyles on bass. For more information, press, detailed discography and more, please visit www.gustavocortinasmusic.com.

Gustavo Cortinas

August 1 – Mary Rademacher & The Plaza Tower Players Swoosh

"Vocalist, Mary Rademacher brings a power packed punch with these local seasoned & highly accomplished musicians performing a fun mix of classic standards, groovy funk and Latin. John Gist, Scott Veenstra, Paul Lesinski & Jeff Beavan."

Mary is a long time local favorite. She always pleases the audience with her singing and dancing, but her many talents also include acting and choreography. She works with many school play groups and with Civic Theater where she is working on “Cats” this season. Mary is an important part of the nationally touring performance group, the Boogie Woogie Babies. Mary was voted Jazz Musician of the year 2006.

Mary Rademacher Reed

August 8 – Checkers Morton

Described as a "venerable band of brothers," this group has been playing music together for over forty years. They are a regular hit at the Book Nook in Montague MI.  and will present their original work and free music. (Dave Collee, bass, Dan Giacobassi,saxes and flute, Jim Beegle - trumpet, flute and congas, Bob VanStee - keys, and 2004 WMJS Musician of the Year, more recently added to the group, Tim Froncek, drums).

Checkers Morton

August 15 – Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra Swoosh

Back by popular demand, they will close out our 2016 Jazz in the Park series! GRJO was founded in 1977 by the late Bruce Early; this premier jazz ensemble has been featuring some of the area’s finest musicians for more than 35 years. Led by Bob Nixon, they play swinging original compositions and arrangements as well as traditional favorites.

2016 Spring Newsletter

WMJS Has a New Annual Award! Bruce Early

This award will be given in Bruce Early's name to the Jazz Educator of the year by the W.M.J.S. Dr. Bruce Early (1939-1998) was the area's premier educator, band leader, performer, adjudicator, and contractor in the Grand Rapids area as well as the Mid-west. He taught at Aquinas College and organized an annual jazz festival and summer jazz camp besides being a conductor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He nurtured young talent and gave them an environment to gain experience to perfect their craft. So this award will continue his legacy as well as give acknowledgment and thanks to each recipient.

Each recipient will not only be selected by their teaching talent but by their support and caring of the direction that our young jazz musician's paths may take. West Michigan has many devoted and talented educators and this will be a way thanking and acknowledgment for their expertise.

Max Colley IIOn June 2016 the first award was presented to Max Colley II. His dedication, drive, enthusiasm, as well as Northview High School's unparalleled competition record at jazz festivals, has been an inspiration to all who are involved in jazz education and have been jazz enthusiasts for years! Max inspired not only his students but everyone around him. He welcomed other teachers to share their knowledge which in turn gave his students unlimited knowledge and experiences to learn from. Max has retired from teaching but still keeps in touch with many of his "kids" through out the country. He is still sharing his enthusiasm and caring for other peoples lives and accomplishments.

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