Jazz concert to benefit Masonic Hall Project

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BENNINGTON — Continuing its celebration of the 15th season of the Basement Music Series, Vermont Arts Exchange welcomes The Sage City Jazz Band on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Masonic Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8. Proceeds from the night go to the VAE-Masonic Hall Project, which is helping transform the historic downtown building into a community gathering space.

A traditional Dixieland jazz band playing New Orleans-style jazz and swing, The Sage City Jazz Band was formed in 1955 by Bob and Helen Woodworth in North Bennington, which was at one time known as Sage City, and has been playing Dixieland music ever since. The band was managed for many years by Bob and Helen's son, Dr. Ron Woodworth, and is currently managed by Bill Cottrell. The band currently features Woody Strobeck on trombone, Bill Cottrell on trumpet and soprano saxophone, Jeff McRae on drums, Dave Cutie on standup bass and, joining later in the evening, Matt Edwards on piano and vocals.

New Orleans jazz was pioneered by groups like the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, King Oliver (who gave Louis Armstrong his start), Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden, Bix Biederbecke, and many others in and around New Orleans, Chicago, and New York in the early part of the 20th century.

Libations will be served by Thyme Tables Catering, and delicious food by garam garam. The dance floor will be open, so come and support downtown efforts in improving this beautiful building as a cultural and historical asset for the community.

Tickets for this Basement Music Series concert are $18 in advance through www.vtartxchange.org or by calling 800-838-3006. If not sold out, tickets are $22 at the door. Student tickets are available for $10. The Masonic Hall is an accessible facility, call for specific accommodations.

Basement Music Series sponsors get tickets, a reserved table and, if desired, their name or business logos in promotional material and mentioned onstage. The tax-deductible sponsorships are critical to continuing the BMS and ensuring the diversity and quality of the artists VAE presents. The BMS not only benefits the community, but also local restaurants, artists and musicians. Contact director Matthew Perry at 802-442-5549 or matthewvae@comcast.net for more information about becoming a sponsor.

Follow the season at vtartxchange.org, on the new Basement Music Series Facebook page and on Twitter (twitter.com/BMSatVAE). For more information about Vermont Arts Exchange, the Basement Music Series, exhibits and camps, contact VAE at 802-442-5549 or visit vtartxchange.org.

The Masonic Hall is located at 504 Main St., Bennington.

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