With funding provided primarily by the donations of its members, the Seacoast Jazz Society presents, co-sponsors or otherwise supports a number of jazz-related initiatives throughout the year.
THE TOMMY GALLANT JAZZ FESTIVAL
Every year, on a Sunday afternoon around the beginning of July, jazz fans from the Seacoast and beyond gather at Portsmouth’s beautiful Prescott Park on the banks of the Piscataqua River to enjoy an afternoon of first-class jazz.
This long-running tradition began in 1996 as the Seacoast Jazz Festival, later to be renamed to honor the memory of one of the Seacoast jazz community’s most important figures, the late pianist Tommy Gallant.
THE SEACOAST JAZZ APPRECIATION PROJECT
The Seacoast Jazz Appreciation Project (SJAP) is one of the Seacoast Jazz Society’s most successful initiatives. Launched in 2009, the series hosts leading jazz artists in free-to-the-public events that combine performance and, importantly, dialog with audience members.
SJAP’s objective to enhance the appreciation of jazz for listeners at all levels of musical sophistication, while de-mystifying this uniquely American musical genre for its newest listeners. It’s a chance to “hang” with some outstanding jazz musicians, to hear their music, and about their music, in a casual, club-like environment. Over the years, the Project has presented such jazz luminaries as Kenny Werner, Sheila Jordan, Peter Bernstein, Grace Kelly, and Gary Smulyan, among others. And the series is free to the public.
THE SEACOAST JAZZ SOCIETY LECTURE SERIES
This series, also free-to-the-public, presents lecturers with expertise in a variety of jazz subjects. Over the years, the series has covered such topics as Big Band Jazz, Boston Jazz History, the History of Jazz Piano Trios, Jazz in Wartime Germany, Art and Jazz, the History of Bebop, the Vibraphone in Jazz, and the music of jazz performers like Django Reinhardt, Billy Strayhorn, John Coltrane, Fletcher Henderson, and others.
THE SUMMER YOUTH MUSIC SCHOOL (SYMS)
Each year, the Seacoast Jazz Society awards a full scholarship to the Summer Youth Music School (SYMS) at the University of New Hampshire to a deserving young music student with an interest in jazz. Shown at left is recent winner of our scholarship Daniel Powers, a trombone student, then at Hillside Middle School in Manchester, New Hampshire.