The 24th annual Juneau Jazz & Classics festival, held May 21-30, will provide wide-ranging entertainment throughout the week with both free and ticketed events.
The festival kicks off tomorrow night with the Ruthie Foster Band at Centennial Hall starting at 8 p.m. The all-female band from Texas plays soul and blues and will also be featured on the Blues Cruise Saturday night at 5 and 9 p.m.
The ever-evolving Jazz & Classics event is a bit different this year because organizers have planned more free music around town, as well as paid concert events, so more people can participate.
"We've organized a Music About Town series, and we've added some concerts at restaurants and some open rehearsals. We looked at ways to get everybody involved that are free," said event coordinator Sandy Fortier.
Music About Town events thus far are an open rehearsal with the Jasper String Quartet and Norman Fischer from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, at the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Gallery; Happy Hour with Duke Ellington, featuring Jeff Antoniuk and the Jazz Update at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, at Zephyr; and a Rush Hour Concert featuring Robert Dick and Ursel Schlicht at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 27, at the Canvas.
Fortier said they've also revived a popular event this year, the Classical Champagne Cruise.
"We brought back the champagne cruise because there was a lot of demand for that," she said.
The Classical Champagne Cruise is being offered in addition to the popular Blues Cruise Saturday night. The champagne cruise leaves from Auke Bay's Statter Harbor on Saturday, May 22, at 11 a.m and costs $60.
Some other artists featured in this year's lineup are the Jasper String Quartet, Robert Dick and Ursel Schlicht, Jeff Antoniuk and the Jazz Update, the Fischer Duo, and Ingrid Jensen.
The music event started 24 years ago when a group of Juneau residents, hungry for good music, got together to bring artists to Juneau when the weather was good, at the start of the tourist season. It's blossomed and grown over the years.
The week-long celebration of music will culminate with the Royal Crown Revue Dance and Concert held at 8 p.m. at the UAS student recreation center. Swing dance lessons will be offered before the concert, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
For more on the Jazz & Classics festival, visit www.jazzandclassics.org
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