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Lewiston Jazz Festival kicks off next weekend

LEWISTON -- Celebrated jazz singer Molly Johnson of Toronto and singer/saxophonist Curtis Stigers will be the headliners next weekend during the 15th annual Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival.

Johnson, a National Jazz Award winner for “Best Female Vocalist,” will perform at 8 p.m. Friday on the main stage. Stigers is a multi-platinum selling singer, saxophonist, producer and songwriter from Idaho who will take the main stage at 8 p.m. Saturday to close out the event.

“We have international jazz musicians on our main stage,” said Carol Calato, who chairs the festival for the non-profit Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival, Inc.

“We have Molly Johnson this year -- a great Canadian jazz singer,” Calato said. “And, on Saturday, back by popular demand, we have Curtis Stigers. He was here seven or eight years ago and people loved him and since this is our 15th, we said, ‘Let’s bring Curtis back.’”

This year’s celebration will kick off at 4:45 p.m. Friday with The French Quarter Hounds parading down Center Street. The event continues to 10 p.m. Friday and picks up again from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, with music offered continuously on five stages along Center Street, which is closed to traffic from Fourth to Sixth streets.

The festival is free, but those wishing to secure prime seating for a main stage performance may do so for $20 by visiting www.lewistonjazz.com. Other patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs because provided seating is limited throughout the festival. In addition, food and beverages are available for purchase.

Calato has volunteered with the organization for 14 of its 15 years and she estimates the crowds now reach 25,000 to 30,000 over the day-and-a-half event.

“It’s so much fun,” Calato said. “It’s a labor of love for everyone involved and Artpark is great to work with -- they certainly know how to put on a concert. We have a really amazing volunteer board and the people we work with have really gone out and secured the funding. It takes about $150,000 to put this on each year.”

Calato said the board “determined early on that we were going to call this the Jazz Festival and really promote this American genre of music. A lot of jazz festivals call themselves that but then have different types of music.

“We have an upscale event that provides various types of jazz and we do our best to keep it upscale,” she noted. “It’s clean, we have tablecloths on the tables, we have very good vendors -- the food is delicious -- and we have the Niagara Wine Trail wineries.”

The festival boasts two large stages at either end of its stretch of Center Street, with the main stage at Center and Fourth Streets, and the M&T Bank Rising Star stage at Center and Sixth Streets. In addition, smaller venues are offered at DiCamillo’s,the Frontier House and the Peace Garden. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission sponsors the Peace Garden site, which is located behind the Little Yellow House on Center Street. These multiple venues offer local and regional jazz performers the chance to showcase their talents throughout the day-and-a-half event.

“You can wander around and listen to music, taste the wine and eat good food along the way,” Calato said. “We also have the jewelry show, too, and that’s very popular.”

In addition, Bobby Militello will entertain at 4 p.m. Saturday, preceding the second annual Jazz Mass at 4:30 p.m. at St. Peter Roman Catholic Church at Center and Sixth Streets.

The festival is chiefly sponsored by Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc., and Artpark, and coordinated by Artpark. The non-profit Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival, Inc. presents the event in partnership with the Village and Town of Lewiston and Niagara County, and is supported by a host of other sponsors as well as donations from the community.

Lewiston Jazz Festival Schedule

Friday

Main Stage (4th & Center Streets)

5 to 7 p.m.: My Cousin Tone’

8 to 10 p.m.: Molly Johnson

Lewiston Peace Garden

5 to 7 p.m.: LTM Trio

7:15 to 9:15 p.m.: Wayne Moose Trio

Frontier House Porch

5 to 7 p.m.: Phil DiRe Septet

7:15 to 9:15 p.m.: Carol McLaughlin Quintet

DiCamillo Courtyard

6 to 7:45 p.m.: Declan Miers

8 to 10 p.m.: Luke Ciminelli

Rising Star Stage (6th & Center Streets)

5 to 6:45 p.m.: Jazz Current

7 to 9 p.m.: Hard Logic

Saturday

Main Stage (4th & Center Streets)

12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Big City Horns

2:45 to 4:45 p.m.: Sabu Adeyola

5 to 7 p.m.: Wendell Rivera’s Latin Jazz Ensemble

8 to 10 p.m.: Curtis Stigers

Lewiston Peace Garden

12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Joe Baudo Quartet Featuring vocalist Cheryl Ferris

2:45 to 4:45 p.m.: Laurie Bordonaro Trio

5 to 7 p.m.: Tom Paladino Trio

7:15 to 9:15 p.m.: Carina and the Six String Preacher

Frontier House Porch

12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Ralph Fava

2:45 to 4:45 p.m.: Alec Dube Quintet

5 to 7 p.m.: Barbara Jean

7:15 to 9:15 p.m.: Dan Hull & Friends

DiCamillo Courtyard

6 to 7:45 p.m.: Chase Ellison

8 to 10 p.m.: Charlie Reedy

Rising Star Stage (6th & Center Streets)

12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Mary McMahon Project

2:45 to 4:45 p.m.: Fredtown Stompers

5 to 7 p.m.: Jennifer May’s Ladies First Jazz Big Band

7:15 to 9:15 p.m.: Lynn Ligammari Quintet

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

4 p.m.: Pre-mass concert featuring Bobby Militello

4:30 p.m.: Jazz Mass

For “After Hours Jazz” both evenings, visit: www.lewistonjazz.com

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