The New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation was founded by Executive Director Stephen Bourassa and Event Manager Susan Workman, along with the committee of The Newton Jazz and Wine Festival and New England Jazz Productions in an effort to keep the spirit and legacy of jazz alive throughout the towns of Massachusetts by hosting and producing live musical events, sponsoring music education programs and granting scholarships to musicians and music educators of all ages and backgrounds. Our desire to introduce people to jazz music and support local musicians has become the driving force of the foundation.
On Saturday Sept 19th it was “Sun and Fun” and “Where is the shade?” as 200+ sought refuge from the heat and glare under the trees behind the Jackson Homestead for our 6th annual “Jazz-in-the-Yard”. 5 great local artists presented their talents to an appreciative crowd along with craft vendors, face painting and ice cream. NEJEF presented its first Harold Layne Jazz Legend Award to Boston area Jazz legend drummer Harold Layne for his contributions to the New England Jazz Scene. Harold has been performing in clubs and events throughout the area since the 1940’s. His resume includes a Who’s Who of many of the names that you may have seen on Ken Burn’s PBS Documentary “Jazz.”
NEJEF is already planning for 2016 which will include our “Futures of Jazz” showcase as part of the Newton Festival of the Arts in May featuring area high school Jazz ensembles and a bigger and better Newton Jazz Festival. Already in the works are Wine & Food tents, Jazz Ballet and creating a headliner event! Our goal is to go from a 300-500 person event to 1500+ in 2016!
On Friday Sept 18th NEJEF presented “100 Years of Frank & Billie” which started with the dedication of the “Susan Geoffrion Parks Festival and Scholarship Fund” in memory of one of our founders who passed away suddenly in July of this year and ended with a standing ovation for great performances by vocalists Dale LePage, Lydia Harrell, Tracy Clark, David Thorne Scott and Christine Fawson in our tribute to Frank Sinatra and Billie Holliday. A Silent Auction was held raising an additional $600 for the scholarship fund with items donated from Newton and Greater Boston area businesses.