Mellow mood music floated through the open doorways at Elevation Blakeney on Friday, April 28th. Concert goers came in and out as they enjoyed the warm weather and good company, waiting for the performance to start.
Doors opened at 6:00 so that guests had plenty of time to sample the heavy appetizers before show time. Nonprofits The King’s Kitchen, Encore Catering, and Friendship Trays all provided an array of foods that ranged from classic to classy. The organizations, which are dedicated to feeding the hungry or providing culinary employment training, were also the beneficiaries of the event’s proceeds. Dress was business casual, which fit the relaxed atmosphere.
Wai Yau headed up the organization of the night’s events, along with Jeff Hurley and Melanie Deal. The theater-like venue worked well, providing professional staging and lighting while keeping the seating comfortable and intimate. The all-black stage, walls, and ceiling were accented by a funky pop of colored light.
The Charlotte Jazz Band, conducted by Drew Carter, performed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, with a 15-minute intermission in between. The first set included: Mack the Knife, On the Street Where You Live, Big Noise from Winnetka, Lil’ Darlin, One O’Clock Jump, You Do Something to Me, Summertime, Watch What Happens, The Peanut Vendor, and Birdland.
The second set continued the mix with Younger than Springtime, Night Train, Corner Pocket (Until I Met You), Sugar Blues, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Jumpin’ at the Woodside, Laura, Milestones, Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words), Second Line (Joe Avery Blues), and In The Mood.
According to their website, The Charlotte Jazz Band plays, “big band jazz music, including swing, Dixieland, ragtime, and bebop, and other styles.” The Timeless Jazz Concert was an instrumental mix of genres and even included two vocal performances by trumpeter, Tom Kirby.
The Charlotte Jazz Band is made up of about 20 members. The April 28th event included Janet Bennett and Ricardo Cook on alto saxophone. Jermaine Evans and Alan Richter played tenor saxophone, with Rob Johns on Baritone Saxophone. Trumpeters were Jerry Mirliani, Jim Singer, Richard Dill, and Tom Kirby. Trombone was played by Charles Emerich, Warren Sturm, Marilyn Bonkovsky, and Kevin Pfeuffer. William Penfield was on piano, and Kyle Murphy and Mike Zelver were percussionists.
The program stated, “Charlotte Jazz Band is affiliated with the Charlotte Concert Band, a non-profit community band dedicated to providing quality music to the Charlotte community.”
SHARE Charlotte was also involved as a nonprofit connector. When purchasing tickets online, guests were able to choose to make an extra donation to SHARE, to help support more local Charlotte nonprofits. The program explained that “SHARE Charlotte (sharecharlotte.org) unites Charlotte through good by providing a one-stop shop that brings together more than 400 local nonprofits, making it fun and easy for the community to get engaged. SHARE believes that by doing GOOD, we create a stronger, happier Charlotte.”
The Timeless Jazz Concert was Wai’s first nonprofit event. She has loved living in the Charlotte area for the past 16 years and had the desire to give back to the community by creating this event to support local organizations. Wai said she learned a lot in the organizing process, and she hopes to continue by planning similar events in the future.