For immediate release
University Park, June 27, 2006 - It was not just a time for raising funds. It was also a time for raising spirits, making friends, and swinging together.
Jazz in the Park for Charity was held on Sunday, June 25, on the grounds of Governors State University in University Park under sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy skies, but always under the smiling faces of the 1,000 attendees and many volunteer workers.
The event was a great accomplishment. Fifteen south suburban non-profit service, cultural, and educational organizations contributed to the success of the event and raised funds to support their work.
“Governors State was proud to host Jazz in the Park this year, because it serves the university’s mission and illustrates our role in the region,” said Dr. Stuart Fagan, President of GSU. “This event demonstrates not only the compassion of our citizens, but also a commitment to higher education, to opportunity, and to cultural activities which enhance the quality of life for all.”
“It was a great event. We heard terrific jazz music played by some of the area’s premier musicians and musical groups, tasted a sampling of some of the finest cuisine in the south suburbs, and enjoyed an exciting live and silent auction,” said Patricia Braden of Markham, Development Assistant for SouthStar Services.
In addition to SouthStar Services, Jazz in the Park was sponsored by the Governors State University Foundation, Girl Scouts of South Cook County, Grand Prairie Services, Healing Racism (Chicago Southland), League of Women Voters of the Homewood/Flossmoor area, Homewood Rotary, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Illinois Youth Advocate Program, Matteson Rotary Special Kids Fund, Inc., Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center, National Council of Jewish Women, South Suburban Chicago Links, Inc., Tall Grass Arts Association, and Union Street Gallery.
Each organization was responsible for selling tickets to the event, collecting items for the auction, and providing volunteers to make the day a success. The campus of GSU proved to be the perfect setting for the event with bright tents dotting the manicured lawn and the university, the pond, and the sculptures of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park serving as a backdrop.
The audience enjoyed the music of Joan Collaso, the Michael Ross Quartet, Reggie Foster, and the Prairie State College Extreme Big Band with Jeannie Rega. Denise Jordan Walker, founder and host of Candid Jazz and Conversations, emceed the show.
Refreshments were provided by several south suburban restaurants including Bamboo Blue in Homewood, Bon Appetit in Crete, The Chicago Dough Company in Richton Park, Ciao Ristorante in Matteson, City Beverages in Markham, Dusties Southern Style Buffet in Matteson, Eli’s Cheesecake in Chicago, Flavor Restaurant in Flossmoor, Liang’s Chinese Restaurant in Richton Park, Lunch at Hand in Mokena, Nielsen’s Bakery in Homewood, and Vic’s on Main in Crete.
“Jazz in the Park was thoroughly enjoyable. It was a fabulous event. The university did a wonderful job and it was great to come together with all the service organizations,” said Jane Brown of Hazel Crest who is associated with several of the participating groups. “I hope it becomes an annual event and more organizations join in.”
This year’s event was prompted by the success of the first Jazz in the Park held two years ago at the home of Martin and Lois Anthonisen of Flossmoor.
“We are very pleased that we were able to continue the success of the first Jazz in the Park for Charity. This event was both a chance to raise some money and a celebration,” said GSU Foundation member Ron Bean of Olympia Fields.
“Jazz in the Park was a spectacular event. It became a memorable event when my friends bid (during the auction) on the French cooking school trip. Our excitement became fireworks when they won their bid,” added Barbara Peterson of Beecher.
While the money raised by each organization will certainly be put to good use,event organizers believed that the success of the day was in the pleasure of the audience and volunteers.
According to Brown, “It was delightful to do what we do best - work with great organizations and businesses in our communities to build strength and support in the South Suburbs while having fun.”