Fine Arts For Free

Nearly 140 area residents gathered at the Spire Theater of Jamestown on Friday for an evening of jazz music by local and regional musicians.

Jazz at the Spire, formerly the Unitarian Universalist Jazz Salon Series, is a monthly series of free jazz concerts featuring local and regional musicians. The show was opened by Chance Scott, a 12-year-old multi-instrumentalist. John Cross, Steve Davis, Preach Freedom, Tony Grey and Jed Thompson then took the stage to perform a variety of jazz classics. Marla Harris also joined the group to sing vocals for a tune.

According to John Cross, organizer of the jazz series, the series outgrew the church the parlor series was previously being held in, thus a new space was sought and found.

“Now we don’t have everyone sitting on top of each other – it allows us to grow the program,” Cross said. “We had to turn people away at one of the shows recently, so this move just made sense. There’s much more space now to grow into – that’s the most exciting part. But, it’s also exciting being located in downtown Jamestown. It’s starting to become a destination, and I like the fact that there’s a revitalization of downtown.”

Part of why Cross wanted the jazz series to move to the Spire is because it has played a role in bringing fine arts to the people of Jamestown, including children, he said.

“That’s why the jazz parlor has always been free and open to the public,” Cross said. “It’s my intent that it shouldn’t cost someone $20 to be able to hear such fine arts as these musicians on the stage. With that said, in order to continue this series, we could use your help in any way you can. It would be greatly appreciated, but not necessary.”

“I am so blessed, so privileged and so happy to be here tonight,” Harris added.

Angelo Giuffre, owner of the Spire Theater, said he attended the final jazz salon series performance held at the Unitarian Universalist, and there were about 75 people there. So, he was excited by the prospect of having those folks fill the seats of The Spire.

“I thought to myself, ‘This will be great if this many people come,’ but I just did a count and it’s roughly 130 – plus there’s still people trickling in,” Giuffre said. “It’s really exciting that for the first time at the Spire to already have that many people. We’re at about 50 percent capacity right now, and I think it will only grow as the months go on.”

The Jazz at the Spire Series are held once a month, usually on the final Friday of the month. Each performance is free and open to the public, but a free will offering is accepted. The funds raised during each performance serve to keep the series running. The next show is set for Friday, March 28, at 7 p.m., and will feature the Bill Ward Band.

The Spire Theater is located at 317 E. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information, visit www.in-spire.us, search for “The Spire Theater” on Facebook, or call 450-7357.