Annapolis grooves to Jazzfest sounds ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY -- Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

June 07, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

One couple anchored a motorboat just off the banks of College Creek in Annapolis yesterday and danced cheek to cheek. Families sprawled on blankets and shared picnic lunches on a grassy field at St. John's College. Children played croquet, as sounds of the first Annapolis Jazzfest wafted from a stage.

"Annapolis has needed this for a long time," said Thomas Duvall, an organizer of the event, which benefits the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. "Music is so universal. It brings people together."

Yesterday's six-hour jazz festival, featuring local but nationally known artists such as Charlie Byrd and Ethel Ennis, drew some 2,500 people who each paid $10 admission.

They toted lawn chairs, blankets and coolers, staked out spots along the creek and basked in the sun.

"This is marvelous. I can't wait for another year," said Joyce Long, 76, of Annapolis, as vocalist Sue Matthews crooned "They Can't Take That Away From Me."

The festival's sponsors, The Friends of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, hope the event will become a yearly staple, as much a part of the historic state capital's identity as the city's annual boat shows.

"This region is very much a jazz center," said Maureen Torgerson, the festival chairwoman, who noted nationally known artists live in Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington.

Ms. Torgerson and other organizers spent a year arranging for a mix of artists -- including Peabody Ragtime, the Keter Betts Quartet, the Stef Scaggiari Group, Moon August -- to draw both young and old. Performances ranged from ragtime to fusion to traditional jazz.

Two of the younger concert-goers, Rachel Katz, 19, of Annapolis and her 15-year-old sister Lisa said they inherited their love of the music of Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis from their mother.

Even though they lost their tickets yesterday, they appeared content stretched out on a blanket on a hill overlooking the rear of the stage.

"This is such a nice spot here, just to be by the water listening to jazz and watching the little canoes go by," said Rachel, a Maryland Institute College of Art sophomore.

With government agencies cutting funding to the arts and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra doubling its number of concerts, it has become more crucial than ever to devise creative ways of raising money, said Pat Edwards, executive director of the 33-year old Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.

"This is the most innovative, far-reaching, successful fund-raiser we've ever had," Ms. Edwards said. "It's what's best about Annapolis. This wonderful weather, being on the water and the mix of community. Things like this give us heart."

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