Vienna Jazz Festival slated

VIENNA – Sounds of jazz music will fill Vienna in August as a first-time event kicks off what organizers hope is an annual event.

The inaugural Vienna Jazz Festival will be 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Fishbone Grill in Vienna, featuring music from a variety of performers like Hook, Simply Ira, Julian Vaughn, David Wells/Chris Geith and Warren Hill.

Admission is $15 for an all-day pass. There will also be 100 VIP tickets available for $45 each, which will include the all-day pass, table seating in front of the stage, a free T-shirt, free parking and a meet and greet. Ticket information is available by calling 304-482-3447 and tickets can be purchased at www.viennajazzfestival.com. Parking is $2.

Musician and event organizer David Wells said the idea for the Vienna Jazz Festival grew out of the efforts of late Parkersburg resident Gene Donaway to increase cultural diversity in the Mid-Ohio Valley area. In addition to helping create the annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival – which marked its 18th year this summer – Donaway created the Jazz on the Green Festival in Parkersburg, which lasted for a few years.

The new event is an outgrowth of those efforts and Wells’ creation of the Chocolate Jazz Foundation to support public school music programs. That foundation has worked for two years to create a way to help young musicians through such an event.

“We have finally created that event called Vienna Jazz Festival,” Wells said. “Chocolate Jazz Foundation and the city of Vienna are presenting such a festival which will work to assist with the support of our public school music educational programs and to honor Gene Donaway for what he loved about jazz and education.”

Since August 2008, Chocolate Jazz has conducted over 150 fundraisers for public schools in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri raising over $250,000 for the music departments in those areas, Wells said.

The festival will feature artists highlighting a variety of jazz styles.

Originally from New York and now living in Marietta, Ira Heyward of Simply Ira is involved in Dunamis Concerts as director of marketing and fundraising for the promotion of national and international Christian concerts. He has been involved in fundraising efforts and other projects.

He began his professional music career while living in California, working as a talent agent and performing in a variety of venues and with various groups, including performing on the USO Tour Circuit.

From Kansas City, Julian Vaughn self-released his debut album in 2010, entitled “The Purpose Project.” His second album, released by Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records, was entitled “Breakthrough.”

Vaughn has performed at notable Jazz festivals such as the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Catalina Island Jazz Festival, Big Bear Lake Festival and the Dubai International Jazz Festival.

Geith is a jazz keyboardist who has been playing most of his life. His albums include “Island Of A Thousand Dreams” and “Timeless World.” Geith’s music can be heard extensively on hundreds of Smooth Jazz radio stations, also on the “Weather Channel,” “Music Choice” cable, satellite radio, and on a number of different national TV shows.

The final performer of the festival will be Warren Hill, of Toronto, a smooth jazz and adult contemporary musician. He released 11 albums since 1991, which have reached combined worldwide sales of over 1 million copies. He has also worked with a variety of artists, from Chaka Khan and Clint Black to a wide range of others.

The schedule of performances includes:

* 11 a.m.: Gates open

* Noon: Opening ceremony

* 12:30-2 p.m.: Hook

* 2:30-4:30 p.m.: Simply Ira

* 5-6:30 p.m.: Julian Vaughn

* 7-8:30 p.m.: David Wells/Chris Geith

* 9-10:30 p.m.: Warren Hill

* 11 a.m.: Gates close