As old man winter makes his retreat and the outdoors beckon, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra brings music and song to Festival Park for its third annual Jazz Fest, April 6 from 6-10 p.m. The event includes jazz bands and a cappella groups from across the state, creating a casual evening of food, fun and music.
Because no outdoor concert is complete without refreshments, food trucks will be on-site. “We have Bold Flavors, Sandwich Mike’s, Babann’s Fried Chicken, Dusty Donuts, R Burger and Dahn’s Kitchen,” said FSO president and CEO Christine Kastner. “Beer and wine is provided by Healy Wholesale.”
A relatively young event, the Jazz Festival came about “after several conversations with people who said that there weren’t enough opportunities to hear jazz in our community,” said Kastner. “At the same time, we had been looking for a signature fundraising event for the symphony. We decided to combine the interest in jazz with our interest in doing an event in Festival Park. Then we took it a step further and decided to provide an opportunity for college groups to participate. Our mission includes education, so we thought this would provide a performance opportunity for the colleges.”
The a cappella groups were added strategically to the event. “We added a cappella groups because we needed breaks between the jazz bands, and it also provides a different type of entertainment to appeal to more people,” Kastner said.
The jazz bands are from Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Methodist University and UNC Pembroke. They range in size, from big bands to small jazz combos showcasing the talents of the students and, in some cases, the faculty.
The a cappella groups are from North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Elon University. All are student groups with roughly 15-20 vocalists in each. “Many of them are award winning groups and are a joy not only to listen to, but also to watch,” said Julia Atkins, FSO director of artistic operations and marketing.
Kastner said the event is designed to be a fun way to get out and enjoy the spring weather, listen to great music, eat, drink and have a good time. “And for those who are suffering from withdrawal from March madness, they can cheer on their favorite local universities!” she added.
FSO was founded in 1956 and is a professional orchestra. Part of the organization’s mission is to educate, entertain and inspire the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina, region as the leading musical resource. In addition to performing six to eight concerts each season, the orchestra has a youth orchestra, an after-school string program, music summer camps, an elementary string camp and a concerto competition. FSO also sponsors several school programs throughout the year and partners with community organizations.
Tickets to the Jazz Fest April 6 range from $10-$45 and include military discount prices along with VIP and nondrinking options. The VIP package includes a separate beer and wine service, appetizers and seating in a reserved section of the park close to the performances. VIP is for adults only and is limited to 150 people. Purchase tickets in advance at fayettevillesymphony.org