Congratulations to Jazzin’ at the Lakeside Essay Contest Winners!

Jazz RCO Homepage Image 292x199Congratulations to Liene Zigure of Lakeland Regional High School and Matthew Iwaniura of West Morris Mendham High School whose essays on the importance of American jazz scored them two free tickets to our 32nd Annual Jazzin’ at the Lakeside on Sunday, September 27 at the Indian Train Club in Franklin Lakes courtesy of the event committee.

The fundraising concert will feature performances by world-renowned musicians Warren Vaché on cornet, Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, Derek Smith on piano, Bill Easley on tenor saxophone, Earl Sauls on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums.

Proceeds will help support American Red Cross programs and services, including Disaster Services.

GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY! Join us for great food, good friends and, of course, incredible jazz at our 32nd annual Jazzin’ at the Lakeside jazz concert and brunch. Brunch will begin at 12:30 p.m. and transition to the concert at 2:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, call (609) 951-2118.

Check out Liene & Matthew’s winning essays.

Liene Zigure, Lakeland Regional High School, Foreign Exchange Student from Latvia

Jazz was a major presence in the 20th century music scene and its popularity hasn’t diminished today. As one of the great musicgenres that was born in the United States, it is an integral part of American culture. In late 19th century throughout 20th century when racism was a bigger issue than now, performing jazz music was a mechanism for African-American self-expression and created a sense of peace and comfort though their music. At that time people were more interested in creating truly great music than in achieving a commercial success. This sadly, is no longer a reality we can observe in today’s music industry. Not only jazz has brought people together from the United States, but it has also helped people of different races to integrate and be viewed as equal. Although discrimination still existed, jazz performances helped to reduce that. Also as it became a greater presence with white musicians, boundaries were lifted.  

I come from a country whose history and culture would be unimaginable without music. We highly appreciate and value music because for 52 years it was the only way to express our true feelings. I believe that people from Latvia, then taken over by the Soviet Union) could’ve related to jazz since it also was performed when people dealt with inequality, enslavement and abasement. This is something both Latvians and some American’s had in common for a long period of time. I’ve been into music since I was a small child, but for last 9 years I’ve also been learning how to sing and play piano. As a high school exchange student in a foreign country I seek opportunities to experience cultural events in the United States, especially those with a relation of music. Since jazz concerts aren’t so widely available in my home country Latvia, 32nd Annual Jazzin’ At The Lakeside is a great way how to expand my knowledge and comprehension of jazz music.

Matthew Iwaniura, West Morris Mendham High School, Mendham, New Jersey

American Jazz can be seen as a shining beacon of hope for most Americans during the late 1920s and early 1930s. During the time, America and most of the world suffered due to the Great Depression. Poverty was a common sight throughout the country and unemployment was as high as 25%. Although this age was known as the Great Depression it also has a more positive name known as the Jazz Age. People turned to jazz as an escape the outside world and its hardship. The music would enter people’s minds at various jazz bars around the country and ease all their worries. Big names such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Paul Whiteman would gain the attention in New York. Many musicians would go around the country to major cities such as New Orleans and Chicago in search of employment. Jazz was spreading to each city, giving people ease during hard times. America was also the birthplace of jazz. Jazz was born in the early 20th century in New Orleans. It was a perfect place for it to born. This is because New Orleans is a port city where many different ethnic groups met. It also explains why jazz has different musical elements from European and African music. From African music it has its rhythm, feel, and blues quality. From the European side, it combines a perfect harmony and a extravagant blend of instruments such as the saxophone. The real importance of jazz is how it shapes America’s identity. Jazz helps this country become more unique and elegant country. Jazz displays the hardships and growth this country faced. America will be known as the country who gave birth to such a unique category of music.

Jazz also influenced me to play an instrument. I play a Alto saxophone in a advanced wind ensemble at West Morris Mendham High School. I play alongside friends and the best conductor I could ask for. Jazz music drives my passion for playing and relaxes me. It also motivates me out of early in the morning just so I could get to school faster and produce music with my friends.   

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