Renfrew's got the right jazz vibe as hundreds attend Waynesboro fest

August 25, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- It's almost as if the Pied Piper is drawing them to the expansive lawn.

Year after year, hundreds of people from all over the region carry chairs and blankets from the lower parking lot at Renfrew Park. They cross the bridge and continue on the stone path, seemingly pulled by the sounds of jazz coming from the lawn.

On Sunday, it was the David Leonhardt Jazz Group doing the beckoning.

"I think the really cool thing about this event is that it makes jazz accessible to everybody," said Tracy Holliday, a Renfrew Institute staff member.

The 17th annual Jazz Festival featured Leonhardt and his fellow musicians joined by guest Houston Person on saxophone. Organizers estimated that 500 to 700 people attended the free event.


"It was great," said Stephen Florek, 6, of Waynesboro.

His 9-year-old sister, Valencia Florek, was less impressed and would have preferred to wade in the creek on the hot day.

"I don't like listening to music much," she said.

The children's mother, Marguerite Florek, returned to the Jazz Festival for the second time.

"They're very skilled. They're not just some (run-of-the-mill) band," she said.

"They're really international performers," Holliday said.

While the festival traditionally features Paul Bollenback on guitar, he was touring in Japan and unable to attend. Andrew Sussman, executive director of the Cumberland Valley School of Music, reached out to Leonhardt, who recorded CDs with Sussman in the past.

"I just try to find the best musicians I can in any given year," Sussman said.

The artists performed some of Sussman's original work under sunny skies in the afternoon.

"I was in a jazz club Friday night, and that was fun, but it's nice to be out in fresh air. I like being outside," Leonhardt said. "It's got a good vibe."

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