The last waltz for Glenwood’s Summer of Jazz?
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Bob and Mary Noone, organizers of the Summer of Jazz concert series in Glenwood Springs, are calling it quits after this, the event’s 25th year.
Area residents who have enjoyed the jazz performances from some of the greatest bands of the genre over the past 24 years, however, may not have the chance to see even one concert this year, according to organizer Bob Noone.
Noone told the Glenwood City Council on Feb. 18 that the annual event is planning for this year to be the “last call” for the popular community event.
“We plan to have a huge celebration this year,” Bob Noone said. “A grand finale to the Summer of Jazz.”
However, the Noones, who created and organized the event throughout its existence, said that this year’s lineup would be determined by the amount of money raised by April 23.
“If on April 23 we have enough for three concerts, we will have three concerts,” Bob Noone said.
While he is hopeful that there will be enough funds for a full eight-week lineup as in years past, it’s possible there won’t be any shows this year. As of Tuesday, organizers had have received only $1,250 in donations.
The couple was discouraged that a letter to the editor published in the Feb. 9 edition of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent yielded no responses of support.
“We didn’t get a single comment from that letter,” Bob Noone said. “Not a comment on the street or anything.”
So, they then went to City Council and pleaded with residents to support the final season of concerts. They also detailed the new up-front financing structure that will determine the number of shows.
“It will be cash up front, as opposed to the historical model being that we would go forward and book eight weeks of jazz concerts on the strength of receiving between 30 and 50 percent of the funding in the spring,” Bob Noone said.
“We are committing to do the work this year, to present as many concerts as the community funds between now and April 23,” Bob Noone said. “We will be beating that drum for the next couple of months hoping that people will get the word out.”
Summer of Jazz was approximately $19,000 short for covering costs in 2009. The organization received $20,000 in spring 2009 from the City of Glenwood Springs through its Tourism and Discretionary Grant Funds. The council granted the Summer of Jazz another $4,700 of funds that remained in the 2009 Tourism Grant Funds, and $15,000 from the 2010 Discretionary Grant Fund to cover the event’s remaining 2009 debt. They did not request any funds for the 2010 series.
This year, they start from zero and will collect donations until the April deadline. From there, it’s anyone’s guess.
“I’ve enjoyed it and my family has been raised to the music of Summer of Jazz,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Dave Sturges. “And I would like to think that the future generations will have the opportunity.”
Councilwoman Shelley Kaup agreed with Sturges, saying the annual event has “made our summers here.”
The Noones had hoped that someone, or another organization, would step up to take over the popular event, to no avail. And now, they think that it’s too late for someone to take over Summer of Jazz.
“You can’t just step in cold and begin calling people,” Bob Noone said.
He said that proper introductions and building relationships within the industry are crucial to carry the program forward successfully. But, they hope that another group will step up after they are done to bring the valley another similar event, or continue with Summer of Jazz.
“I’m hoping that when Mary and I step down that another group or organization will take over,” Bob Noone said. “I’m sure that something is going to fill the void, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it is.”
And even though this will be the final year for Summer of Jazz, Mary said that it’s not really a sad thing for her.
“It’s like having a child that is growing up,” she said. “Twenty-five years is a pretty good time to do something.”
And both would like to make this final season one to remember, but they will need the community’s support more than ever.
“This is an amazing community,” Mary Noone said. “I think the community will come through.”
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