What started out as a way to extend the beach-going season beyond the summer months has turned into a “pilgrimage” event for music lovers, says Leon Galitzin, VP of the Delaware Celebration of Jazz, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the general spirit, cause-awareness and off-season economy in and around Rehoboth Beach.
“Twenty years ago, a few local businesses decided that there were no reason people couldn’t enjoy the beach beyond Labor Day”, so they started the Rehoboth Jazz Festival, a celebration of great music and local culture with Rehoboth’s beautiful beach serving as the perfect backdrop.
Although the Jazz Festival grew steadily in popularity and scope from 1990 through ’96 it virtually exploded in 1997 when Dennis Santangini, President of DCJ, decided it was time to give the people more of what they really wanted, “World Class Entertainment”, says Leon, “We bring in the best performers from around the country; Grammy, Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe Winners, they all come here to Rehoboth’s Jazz Festival.”
Sure enough, this year’s RJF reads like a who’s who rundown from the A List of jazz and jazz-infused entertainment: Peter White, Mindy Abair, Kim Waters, Cintron, Jason Miles, Santanamania, The Bobby Lyle/Paul Jackson Jr. Project…the list goes on. But better perhaps, than even all these great performers is the venue in which they perform. Yeah, they’re all in Rehoboth, but each performance is in a small, more intimate setting than you’ll find just about anywhere else, in fact, “Twenty-nine rows is the furthest out we go”, Leon told me, so everyone gets a great seat and, “they get the best, finest quality music sound anywhere, plus many of the performers stay around well after their acts to meet and greet their fans, sign autographs”, so things, “just happen on a much more personal level here.”
And maybe, as it is with the rest of Rehoboth and its surrounding beach areas, it’s this personal level of attention and commitment that has also helped the RJF become the event it is today, “We give people an experience like they get nowhere else”, Leon mentioned, through the music and more, “The DCJ is a not-for-profit agency which not only produces the Rehoboth Jazz Festival but through it, also works with the Beebe Medical Center to help support fund-raising efforts for locally-based development and advances for treating Prostate and Breast Cancer as well as Cardio Vascular Disease.”
So there you have it; The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival: Music with Soul, Music for a Cause.
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