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Flushing Town Hall celebrates Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month in a live, virtual Jazz Jam – QNS.com

Flushing Town Hall celebrates Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month in a live, virtual Jazz Jam

Astoria resident and Flushing Town Hall jazz band leader Carol Sudhalter. (Photo by Gus Philippas)

This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month, Flushing Town Hill will embrace the theme, “Luck be a Lady or Irish!” where participants will perform tunes about luck or by Irish composers on Wednesday, March 10. 

The March Jazz Jam will feature the performance of up to 15 musicians. Every month, jazz musicians have come together for the Jazz Jam to play tunes reflecting each month’s theme. 

Since going online, the Jazz Jams have reached more than 7,000 viewers, and exceeded 1,700 engagements online — numbers that surpassed the participation and capacity of the venue during previous in-person sessions. The Jazz Jam has truly become a haven for jazz lovers from around the world.

The monthly Jazz Jam is supported by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and has been led by Astoria resident Carol Sudhalter, who is the jazz band leader at Flushing Town Hall. House band members include illustrious musicians such as Joe Vincent Tranchina, Scott Neumann and Eric Lemon, who pay tribute to the great Louis Armstrong, performing songs associated with the legendary trumpeter and vocalist every month. 

Sudhalter said the pandemic had forced them into new dimensions: arranging, using video, learning to use home recording tools, overdubbing, thinking in new combinations of sound and musical colors. Like Sudhalter, most musicians and singers thought they could not handle, or did not care to delve into the virtual aspects of music performance, she said. 

“Our virtual music event has been a wild and illuminating ride! I hear the same reaction from the 120+ musicians and singers who have participated: initial reluctance, followed by a feeling of ecstasy once they’ve done it: delighted to have had a project to focus on, happy at having learned something new and an instant request to do it again ASAP,” Sudhalter said. 

The monthly Jazz Jams have been among Flushing Town Hall’s most popular and well-attended events since New York City’s cultural institutions, including theaters, closed one year ago amid the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, Flushing Town Hall launched dynamic online entertainment called “FTH at Home!” to bring together people from across the world while fostering resiliency and hope through music and art.

“Nearly a year has passed since we’ve all actually jammed together in-person at Flushing Town Hall! While that is stunning to consider, since April 2020 we’ve been playing virtually, and building a community of Jazz musicians and Jazz lovers who lift each other up musically and socially,” said Gabrielle Hamilton, director of education and public programming at Flushing Town Hall. “We made new friends too — well beyond New York — musicians from across the U.S., and across the seas, from Italy, Australia, Guinea and beyond. We invite everyone — amateur and professional jazz musicians and music lovers — to join us and stay connected.”

Musicians interested in participating on March 10 should email education@flushingtownhall.org with the suggested three- to four-minute tune they intend to play. The performance can be live or a pre-recorded audio or video (but not a professional, edited recording such as a CD or YouTube video).

Musicians who previously performed are now welcome to return. Each month, up to five returning musicians and up to 15 new musicians can participate. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Anyone is invited to listen and can simply tune in to Flushing Town Hall’s Facebook page or Zoom on Wednesday, March 10 at 7 p.m. (EST) to join the live event for free, without registration.

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