Ohio Valley Music Guild plans ‘Summertime Jazz’ on July 26

JAZZ EVENT PLANNERS — Involved in planning the Ohio Valley Music Guild’s annual jazz event to be held July 26 at the Steubenville Country Club are guild representatives, from left, Iris Craig, Lil Ferguson, event Chair Debbie Elias, Josephine Irvine-Groves and Joyce Ryan-Orlando. Open to the public, “Summertime Jazz” will feature the Jenny Wilson Quartet. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with a buffet cocktail supper at 6 p.m. and the performance beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person with July 19 as the RSVP deadline. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — The Ohio Valley Opera Guild is jazzing things up this month and invites the public to join them in the musical adventure, “an evening of eclectic jazz.”

“Summertime Jazz,” featuring the Jenny Wilson Quartet, will be held July 26 at the Steubenville Country Club, 413 Lovers Lane. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with a buffet cocktail supper at 6 p.m. featuring a variety of heavy hors d’oeuvres, including crab cakes. The music begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in advance only and are $40 per person. July 19 is the RSVP deadline. There will be a cash bar.

For event details, contact Debbie Elias, event chair, at (740) 266-2203; Iris Craig at (740) 317-3842; Lil Ferguson at (740) 264-2233; Josephine Irvine-Groves at (740) 317-3070; or Joyce Ryan-Orlando at (740) 264-0292. Tickets also can be obtained at the Center of Music and Art, 264 Main St., Wintersville. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

“We are looking forward to featuring the talent of Jenny Wilson, accompanied by her husband, Nathan; James Johnson; and guest saxophonist Curtis E. Johnson,” Elias said.

“Jenny has been a past performer at our functions and was such a crowd pleasure, we opted having her and her band members back to entertain us,” Elias added, noting the group performed locally three years ago.

“The evening will have a scaled-down atmosphere, different from other events, depicting a nite club ambiance,” Elias said of the event that’s open to the public.

“This has been an annual event for the past 10 years that we’ve always had — jazz in the summer — and it’s always been one of our most popular events,” commented committee member Ryan-Orlando.

Why is that?

“Because it’s casual, because we try to make it a jazz club atmosphere, and it’s not something that you have to sit and listen to. If you want to talk and drink and table visit throughout the evening, that’s what you can do,” she said.

Dancing is an option as well.

The Jenny Wilson Quartet focuses on original music as well as choice classic and contemporary standards. Jenny Wilson is a composer, pianist, flutist and vocalist.

Originally from Queens, N.Y., she is a graduate of West Virginia University’s Master of Music Jazz Pedagogy program and has toured in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

She is active with the West Virginia Jazz Society as a performer and clinician. Her main compositional influences are Thelonious Mon and Wayne Shorter. Her piano style is informed by Bill Evans, and her connection to his music also is reflected in that, like Wilson, Evans also was a fine flutist. Her vocal style is influenced by Shirley Horn and Dianna Krall, understated yet swinging.

Bassist Nathan Wilson also performs with the –from Pittsburgh. He is especially attuned to the melodic style of playing that brings that music that gives the group its unique sound.

Saxophonist Curtis E. Johnson is a member of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra and is an instructor at West Virginia Wesleyan and Carnegie Mellon University. He performs with numerous jazz and pop groups and tours with Landau Eugene Murphy of “America’s Got Talent” fame. Johnson joins Wilson’s group regularly for concerts and clinics.

The annual jazz program is a popular offering of the organization established in 2003 — a nonprofit organization committed to the support, enhancement and education of the community through the presentation of musical programming and through the granting of scholarships to college-level music majors from the Tri-State Area. Performances encompass many forms of creative expression, including, but not limited to, opera, ballet and jazz.

The performances not only bring musical enjoyment to the area, guild members note, but also serve as fundraisers for annual scholarship presentations in addition to an annual donation to support the Grand Theater Restoration Project.

New members are welcome to join the guild with the annual membership fee being $20, although other donor membership levels are available, from $50 on up. Checks can be made payable to the Ohio Valley Music Guild and mailed to the guild at P.O. Box 2158, Wintersville OH 43953.

Questions can be directed to Ferguson, membership chair, at (740) 264-2232. The guild officers are Marie-Helene Wilson, president; Elias, first vice president; Ross Gallabrese, second vice president; Irvine-Groves, secretary; Ryan-Orlando, treasurer; and Ferguson, membership chairman.

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