BirminghamJuly 10, 2012
Community House brings jazz back with concert series
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
BIRMINGHAM — It’s been four years since The Community House discontinued its famed annual Jazzfest in downtown Birmingham, but the music hasn’t died out just yet.
Beginning July 12, TCH, along with WRCJ 90.0 FM, will host “Jazzy Nights,” a summer concert series that will showcase some of the best musicians in metro Detroit.
“We’ve got a good mix of people who play standard jazz, a smooth jazz group — a broad mix of what anybody would like in terms of race, in terms of gender, in terms of styles of jazz,” said Ron Kischuk, artistic director for the series. “Some are vocalists, some are instrumental. People should be able to find anything and everything they want.”
Kischuk, a Detroit native, has worked in the music industry for 35 years. He’s created music for TV shows and movies, and has performed with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Sarah McLachlan. He’s about to release his 13th album, and spends any spare time he has teaching at Masters of Music Conservatory in Royal Oak. Kischuk said he used his many years of experience when he carefully selected the performers to play each concert.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life in Detroit, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to do it at the very highest end of this business. Thirty-five years later, it gives me great contacts. I can reach out to the very best musicians and strongest talent available in the area.”
The rain or shine concerts will be held each Thursday night through Aug. 16 on the Van Dusen Terrace at TCH. Each show will feature a different group, including The Johnny Trudell Quartet, Straight Ahead, April Tini with the Dennis Tini Trio, and even Kischuk himself with the Masters of Music Quartet featuring vocalist Judie Cochill. As guests enjoy the three live sets, they can munch on selections from the small-plates menu and cool off with a cocktail, beer or wine.
The idea for the concerts came from an overwhelming demand by visitors, said Kathie Ninneman, community events director for TCH. For years, the nonprofit hosted the Birmingham Jazzfest each summer in Shain Park. In 2009, when the park underwent renovations, Ninneman said, TCH decided to give the annual event “a rest,” as there was nowhere to hold it and it was becoming increasingly expensive to put on.
“We had the Jazzfest with nationally known artists. We know that people love jazz, because there was a demand for it, so we thought we’d try Jazzy Nights on the terrace,” she said. “It’s a little different than Jazzfest, but we think it will attract the same audience.”
Kischuk is also confident that the same music lovers who came out to the annual event will enjoy the shows and hopefully other jazz concert series in the years to come.
“This is our first jazz series. We’re trying to bring the jazz back to Birmingham, really. It’s the first step in trying to rebuild the strong jazz roots Birmingham has.”
Jazzy Nights will be held each Thursday night July 12 through Aug. 16 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door for each performance. Reserved seating is available for those who purchase a sponsorship for the series. For more information, contact The Community House at (248) 644-5832 or visit www.TCHServes.org. The Community House is located at 380 S. Bates St. in downtown Birmingham.
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