110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Oct 20, 2012 - 12:43:23pm
The annual “Thin Man” Watts Jazz Fest is here.
“This will be a lot of fun for the whole family. The gospel-choir performance on the north steps of the Historic Courthouse is free, and will leave you wanting more.
DeLand native Noble Watts, who died in 2004, raked leaves at Stetson University as a child to pay for music lessons. Returning home after a career as a saxophonist who played across the U.S. and in Europe, Watts was presented with an honorary doctorate by Stetson.
The music festival in his honor began many years ago as a project of the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand, which is across the street from the amphitheater named for Watts.
In 2011, the festival was revived and expanded to include the MainStreet DeLand Association.
This year’s event will start with a kickoff party at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the Florida Museum for Women Artists’ downstairs gathering room, 100 N. Woodland Blvd. in Downtown DeLand. The party, featuring music by Thom Chambers, is free and open to the public.
The main event will begin at noon Saturday, Oct. 20, with the Greater DeLand Combined Community Choir directed by Stan Whitted performing on the north steps of the Volusia County Historic Courthouse, 120 W. Indiana Ave.
After the choir performance, festivalgoers can walk or enjoy a free bicycle-cab ride to either of the two event stages: the Dr. Noble “Thin Man” Watts Amphitheater at 322 S. Clara Ave., and Cafe da Vinci at 112 W. Georgia Ave.
The festival will feature locally and internationally known artists, such as blues pianist Victor Wainwright and his band, The WildRoots, and singer and songwriter Sybil Gage, who wowed the crowd with her style at the 2011 festival. Pianist Daniel Joiner will return to his hometown for a performance with the Daniel Joiner Trio, and both the Stetson University and Daytona State College jazz ensembles will play.
In all, there will be seven acts 1-7 p.m. during the ticketed portion of the event. After that, five Downtown DeLand nightspots will feature jazz music for an after-party. Tickets good for admission to both stages cost $10; the afterparty is free.
The Watts Jazz Fest is a benefit for the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand and the MainStreet DeLand Association, as well as the Watts-Greenlee Scholarship Fund at Daytona State College.
Programs and tickets are available at The Beacon office, 110 W. New York Ave., the MainStreet DeLand office at 100 N. Woodland Blvd., or the African American Museum, 325 S. Clara Ave.
Tickets can also be purchased online at www.wattsjazzfest.com.
“Noble was an inspiration to me and most all of my contemporaries and mentors,” Wainwright said. “The WildRoots and I are very honored to be invited to perform in his memory and for this great cause.”
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