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By Buzz Jones, Festival Artistic Director for Jazz, and Professor of Music at Gettysburg College

I remember well John Pizzarelli’s first visit to Gettysburg in May 2007.  John got into town about 2 pm to rehearse with my big band at the Majestic. We had a great time going through the charts John Clayton had arranged for his Dear Mr. Sinatra release in 2006. It was a magical night of music-making enjoyed by everyone in attendance. His tongue-in-cheek I Love Jersey Best was hilarious!

John is the consummate New York jazz musician with an incredible command of the Great American Songbook and, of course, jazz guitar.  We ended up hanging out at the Lincoln Diner until 2 am. I remember John saying “I’d love to come back sometime… what a beautiful theater and your musicians were great.”  So… he’s back with his NYC quartet for a June 25 performance featuring a wonderful assortment of jazz standards and new music from his just-released CD Rockin In Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington, plus a few tunes from his Richard Rodgers tribute CD With A Song In My Heart…. check out Johnny One Note from the 1937 musical Babes in Arms

Remember the classic Nat “King” Cole tune, Route 66?  Click here for a YouTube clip of John Pizzarelli’s fun rendition.

John Pizzarelli

Joe McCarthy of Afro Bop Alliance - with his Latin Grammy!

I talked with lots of folks at the ’09 festival who wanted to hear some Latin jazz so Afro Bop Alliance will be with us for a June 24 performance.  We are offering this as a FREE performance at the Festival Main Stage.  The group is an Afro Cuban septet of Washington, DC’s leading Latin jazz musicians.  They collaborated with vibraphonist Dave Samuels a few years back and won the 2008 Grammy for best Latin Jazz album. I brought them to Gettysburg College for a Brown Bag Jazz event about five years ago and the students loved them. The band’s 2007 release Camina Nuevo is one of my favorites and will give you the flavor of ABA’s tight ensemble playing and fiery solos.  Former White House Chef Walter Scheib is even putting together a spicy Caribbean Cookout in conjunction with the concert, so join us that night for great music AND a food fest!  

Caribbean Cookout tickets will be on sale soon, but in the meantime save the dates, June 24 and June 25, and reserve your tickets for John Pizzarelli at the Majestic Theater, (717) 337-8200.

The first snowfall of winter is melting away at the Festival office...

By Karen Hendricks, Festival PR/Marketing Director

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from the Gettysburg Festival!  The holiday season truly is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but the festival season is also upon us with less than six action-packed months until the 2010 Festival.  And for that reason, it’s also “the most wonderful time of the year” as the Gettysburg Festival office is transformed into an exciting whirlwind of activity.  I’ll even drop a few hints about 2010 highlight events in a moment…

The Festival's new Director of Development, Mary Lynn Billitteri, with husband Tom, enjoyed meeting Friends and volunteers, in between putting together exciting, new Festival sponsorships.

A Festival Open House set the holiday tone in early December, as we welcomed all volunteers and 2009 Friends of the Festival.  These warm and extremely supportive friends form the backbone of the June Festival, lending a helping hand with everything from office support, to transportation, monetary contributions, and serving as the friendly faces that welcome attendees to Festival events in June.  It’s so appropriate to recognize these key contributors during this season of giving.

Cheers! Brass Volunteer Ann Mease-Shiner toasts a successful 2009 Festival.

Speaking of giving, the Festival presented a holiday gift to the Borough of Gettysburg at the December Borough Council meeting.  Blue Lincoln, a massive painting by the 09 Festival artist Hunt Slonem, will now be on display to the public at Borough Hall.   Mayor William Troxell said of this $24,000 gift, “I think this magnificent painting is representative of not only the enduring legacy of President Lincoln, but also of the significance of the arts in Gettysburg.  We are truly blessed to have The Gettysburg Festival taking place in our borough every June.  We have always welcomed visitors attracted by Gettysburg’s history; now we are seeing more and more visitors coming for the Gettysburg Festival’s arts and culture as well.”

Bernie Yannetti, the Festival's Chairman of the Board of Trustees, presents "Blue Lincoln" to Mayor Troxell and members of Borough Council. The painting is almost as tall as the Mayor!

So as we wrap up 2009 and look forward to 2010, Festival plans are sizzling and percolating, (appropriate choice of words since many of our most popular events are of the culinary variety).  Here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite: 

  • Walter Scheib, returning as Artistic Director of Culinary Events in 2010, is designing an amazing, mouth-watering culinary lineup… including a repeat of the fun brunch event that sold out in 2009, plus a newly-designed formal dinner on a stage, a Caribbean-style cookout, and much more.  Stay tuned for more details!
  • Ben Jones is putting the finishing touches on the 2010 lineup, which will again offer about 20 concerts entirely free of charge to the public.  After showcasing such critically-acclaimed brass performers as Gramercy Brass Orchestra in 2008 and the River City Brass in 2009, we are looking north to a city known for its beans… to find our highlight brass performers for 2010. 
  • One of Gettysburg’s most popular arts and cultural events for the past dozen years, the annual History Meets the Arts Festival will be part of the Gettysburg Festival in 2010.  This will put Gettysburg’s unique downtown galleries in the spotlight.   In case you missed the official announcement a few weeks ago, click here for more details:
  • We are also proud to announce that WITF is once again partnering with the Festival as media sponsor.  This dynamic PBS and NPR affiliate is especially proud to promote a Festival-opening event set for June 18.  Let’s just say it’s going to be a wonderful event at the TOP of our lineup.
  • Buzz Jones is designing a fun and creative jazz lineup for 2010.  Events that cross-promote various genres of the arts have
    Buzz Jones, June 2009

    found the most success, and this year’s jazz lineup integrates that principal.  One of the jazz acts will be showcased within Walter’s afore-mentioned Caribbean-style cookout—fun!  Another jazz act will feature the music of “the chairman of the board” known for his hat and “old blue eyes.”  (more cheesy clues)

  • Speaking of hats, the Festival has found an enthusiastic partner “across the pond” in the DERBYshire region of the UK.  This partnership will bring an entirely new dimension to the Festival, while relying on a series of works from the 1800’s.  More details to come…

Well that’s enough for now.  We don’t want to let too many cats out of the bag.  There will be plenty of time for that in 2010—stay connected to the Festival via the website, e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter as the plans for 2010 are revealed.  Here’s to a happy, healthy and artistic 2010!

Helpful Links:

Last chance to become a 2010 “Friend of the Festival” while enjoying the tax credit for 2009:

Become a Fan of the Festival on Facebook:

By Buzz Jones, Gettysburg Festival Artistic Director for Jazz

March 26, 2009


 Are you a jazz fan? If so, Gettysburg is THE place to be in late June. Our artist lineup is almost complete for the 2009 festival.  


Of special note is the concert by legendary Ahmad Jamal and his quartet on June 27 at the Majestic Theater.  I thought it was particularly appropriate to invite Mr. Jamal to perform here since he is a Pennsylvania native.  Born in Pittsburgh in 1930, he is recognized as one of the most creative and influential pianists of the past two generations.  Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, and Keith Jarrett all cite Ahmad as a major influence on their playing.  Clint Eastwood used two selections from the seminal 1958 album But Not For Me in his film The Bridges of Madison County.  My favorite recording of Ahmad is on bassist Ray Brown’s 1995 CD Some of My Best Friends Are … Piano Players. Listen to what he does with W.C. Handy’s Saint Louis Blues… unbelievable!


Don’t miss the chance to hear one of the most revered improvisors in jazz history. More later on some of other featured artists and the Mason-Dixon Jazz Camp.