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July 25, 2017
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Jazzed it up with love and music

  • Patrick and Wendi Harty are seen at the end of a dance in the classy pose of days gone by. They had been dancing to tunes provided by the Jami Jamison band at the Cotati Jazz Festival. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Nolan Brough
June 23, 2017

On Saturday, the community of Cotati was able to spend their Father’s Day weekend with the sounds of the 37th annual Cotati Jazz Festival at La Plaza Park. Despite the hot weekend, (hundreds) of Sonoma County residents gathered to snap their fingers and dance to four different bands performing their own spin on the heralded genre. 

The stage hosted the SSU Contemporary Jazz Ensemble first at noon, followed by the Susan Comstock Swingtet, the Jami Jamison Band, and Peter Welker. Along with the performers, the event hosted vendors of all shapes and sizes, in addition to booths from local Sonoma County organizations, like the Green Music Center, The Bus Shoppe, Kona Ice of North Marin, Bear Republic and many others. 

The event, like many others put on by the Cotati Chamber of Commerce, is a way to offer free events while still raising money for the city with vendors and a raffle. “It’s the responsibility of a business to build a community,” said Adela Jacobson, who runs the Kona Ice of Marin with her husband, Corey. 

Arianne, “The Computer Lady at the Chamber of Commerce,” oversaw the event this year. It was her first time hosting the Jazz Festival, but she felt compelled to keep the event alive. “When something’s been around for 38 years, we couldn’t let it disappear.” The event being held Father’s Day weekend was also significant for Arianne. “Last year’s festival was the last event before my father died,” said Arianne.

 Arianne spent around 200 hours planning the event, and she wasn’t alone. To help her run the concert aspect of the festival, she enlisted the help of Scott Mitchell, the morning host for 93.7 KJZY, a local Jazz station on the radio. Mitchell is committed to supporting local music, and enjoys the “groove of people.” “[local events] help us enjoy the art form and keep it alive,” says Mitchell. “And the festival is a great way to do that.” 

Mayor Harvey was also in attendance, assisting in beer and wine sales for the event. “I love to see the community out and about,” says Harvey. She has volunteered for the Jazz Festival for almost 20 years. Many city council members were volunteering, including Wendy Skillman. Skillman recalled when she volunteered as mayor and would deliver drinks to the guests! 

The event was a great way for the community to come together and support local artists and vendors. The Jazz Festival is not the only free event the Chamber of Commerce puts on, and you can catch many more throughout the summer. Check out cotati.org for dates in the coming months.