Don’t miss Mardi Gras party in Rockdale; have fun for a good cause

Neighbor Grover sez he wonders if you car could travel at the speed of light would the headlights work. P egaroo and I have been members, for some years, of the Austin Traditional Jazz Society, an organization of lovers of Dixieland and vintage jazz, the original “happy music.”

Well, Rockdale residents will have a wonderful opport unity here on Saturday, Feb. 18 to attend a Mardi Gras party and hear the very tremendous Scott Bailey’s Second-Line Jazz Band at the Patterson Community Center.

And it’s all for as good cause. The Mardi Gras event is a fund-raiser for the ongoing restoration work of the 1940s-era Kay Theater downtown. The Kay Theater Foundation has the exterior already restored and much work has already been done inside.

When complete, the old Kay will be a performing arts venue and community events facility.

Tickets to the Mardi Gras bash are a nominal $30 each considering all that is planned for that fun Saturday night. You can get yours at Elements on Main, 219 North Main Street, any time during business hours, or from any Foundation member.

I have had the pleasure of playing drums with Scott Bailey’s Second-Line Jazz Band, and have been invited to do so again at the Mardi Gras event. Those musicians, most mainstays with the Austin Traditional Jazz Society, are a really fun bunch for their audience any time they play.

Two of the musicians are friends that go way back: Rockdale native Ken Harris of Crawford, a retired band director, and pianist Tommy Griffith of Austin, a Taylor native who organized and leads the Old Waterloo Jazz Band, later renamed the New Orleans Jazz Band of Austin.

Which leads me to a classic joke that is more than a little true:

Q. What kind of people hang around with musicians?

A. Drummers.

The Mardi Gras party is the first of five Kay Theater Foundation benefits planned for this spring. Others, in order, will be:

• March 3, dinner at Rockdale Intermediate School with a reading of the play, “Photographs of a Cheating Wife” and scenes from two other plays, with actor/playwright Fernando Dovalina of Houston.

• March 25, matinee at the Patterson Center with pianist Glennie Scott and vocalist Judy England of Houston. Scott has been a featured performer at many of Houston’s best restaurants and clubs. She is a presenting artist at Ovations in Houston and has originated shows with many of Houston’s finest vocalists. England, who has entertained with Al Hirt, Harry Connick and others, has performed extensively in New Orleans and Houston.

• April 20, piano concert with Rockdale native Jason Brown, also at the Patterson Center. The versatile Jason will be remembered as growing up here a piano virtuoso, and also a pretty doggoned good Rockdale Tiger quarterback and safety. He and his family live in Maryland.

Again, proceeds go to the theater restoration effort.

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2012-02-09 digital edition

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