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The Jazz Celebration started with Franz Jackson's 95th birthday concert gala in November, 2007.  Following his passing in May, 2008, we made it our mission to continue to honor and remember him, his music and his life with an annual event featuring great jazz performers that is accessible to everyone, especially families and children.  In addition to offering world-class jazz for established audiences, it is our hope that, like Franz, the next great jazz musician will be inspired by those who came before them, pick up a horn, and follow their passion.

Past Jazz Celebrations have featured The Marcus Belgrave Jazz Experience ('08), The Salty Dogs Jazz Band ('09) and in 2010, we brought some of Chicago's "young guns" of jazz to Southwestern Michigan to honor Franz - Chicago's Kimbrough and Company with guest vocalist Lisa Roti.  2011's Celebration featured vocalist Judi K who was backed by a trio of outstanding musicians from the Michiana area:  Jim Pickley, Darrel Tidaback and Billy "Stix" Nicks.  

In 2012, we were thrilled to collaborate with Charity Music, Inc., a Michigan-based non-profit organization with a similar mission.  Charity Music, Inc., provides new and used instruments, on loan, to disadvantaged children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to explore their musical interests.  

2012's event - The Centennial Celebration - celebrated the 100th anniversary of Franz's birth and the release of the new CD Franz Jackson:  Milestone featuring the music from his 95th birthday concert.  We were honored to have the Chris Greene Quartet, Jenna Mammina, Eric Schneider, Yves Francois, Judi K, Billy "Stix" Nicks, Dan Shapera and Bob Dogan bring their fabulous performances to Dowagiac. We hope you were there on November 10th to experience this exciting and fun event in Franz's honor! 

Make sure you add your name to our mailing list to stay up to date on all the plans for this year and the future!

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