Vail Jazz Gala celebrates Bossa Nova Nights (photos) | VailDaily.com

Vail Jazz Gala celebrates Bossa Nova Nights (photos)

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society

The Sebastian Hotel in Vail came alive with the rhythmic sights and sounds of Brazil on Monday, July 9, in celebration of all things Vail Jazz.

Bossa Nova Nights was an elegant evening of gorgeous jazz music, warm camaraderie, delicious cuisine and fundraising for Vail Jazz education and community engagement programs. Did you know that more than half of the performances offered by Vail Jazz are free to the public and they have over 85 events each year?

More than half of the annual operation budget for Vail Jazz is donated by individuals and foundations making their concert series affordable. Vail Jazz puts on free concert events at the Riverwalk Backyard Amphitheater in Edwards, the Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show and at The Remedy in the Four Seasons Resort Vail. Next year will mark 25 years since Howard Stone first began presenting jazz in the Vail Valley, combining his love of jazz and the Colorado mountain lifestyle.

Both Vail and the international jazz community are the beneficiaries of Stone's vision in creating a nexus of education and performance. The summer festival spans over 10 weeks with some 75 performances. The Vail Jazz Workshop has contributed to the musicianship of 274 outstanding youth; Vail Jazz Goes to School has educated over 20,000 elementary school studetns in Eagle County; and Jammin' Jazz Kids introduces children to the fundamentals of jazz music.

Bossa Nova Nights performers Carol Bach-y-Rita, Bill Cunliffe, Hitomi Oba and Jon Challoner entertained the crowd with their beautiful music, setting the mood and tone. The latter two musicians attended the Vail Jazz Workshop in 2001 and 2004, respectively. and spoke about their experiences meeting other passionate music students from around the country during an inspiring week in Vail learning from an amazing faculty.

"It was an intense week," Oba said.

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Gala chairwoman Carolyn Pope welcomed her guests: "I would like to thank you all for being here to support jazz and educational programs. I am very honored that you are all here, taking the time to spend this evening with us," she said.

There was a strong, heartfelt thanks to the good staff of Vail Jazz and to founder Stone.

"Thank you, Howard Stone, for broadening my horizons and my love for jazz. You have elevated my life experience by educating and enlightening me on this great American musical tradition," Pope said.

Pope thanked her hard-working committee: Lanell Avery, Cathie Bennett, Mary Carter, Leslie Davis, Patti Dixon, Barbara Krichbaum, Jenelle Krissel, Pat Torvestad and Linda Wilson.

"You are amazing, you stepped up and I am so happy to call you my friends," Pope said.

Auction items at this year's gala included a hygge cocktail party at The Rose; Sedona, Arizona, and Napa Valley getaways; Spoleto Festival; Montauk Restaurant Seafood Grill party; and The Blue Note at Sea. The evening wound down with more music, warmth and "friendraising."

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local that covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.

More on Vail Jazz

To learn more about the Vail Jazz concert series, performances and ways to nurture the future of jazz, visit http://www.vailjazz.org.