The Hudson School’s Spring Soirée will be an evening of dance and music that celebrates the sounds, the style and the cocktails of the Roaring 20s, while also benefitting the school’s scholarship fund.
Coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Jazz Age refers to the period (roughly 1918-1930) in which jazz’s popularity spread enormously via the new medium of broadcast radio. In Echoes of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald wrote, “It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess...”
The Soirée, hosted by the Parents’ Association, is set for May 7, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Chart House in Weehawken. The dinner dance, which is open to the public, will include a mock speakeasy bar, a vintage photo booth and a “live radio broadcast” of early 20th Century jazz music and dance.
The Hudson School is known for its academic rigor but also for its ardent love of the arts, especially music. It is fitting, therefore, that some of the best bands in the area will play at the Soirée. Swingadelic, whose band members have played with the likes of Ray Charles, Count Basie and Art Blakey, is known as Hoboken’s “little big band” with a sound that “encompasses New Orleans and swing jazz as well as their own variation on standard blues genre.”
Other performers include the top New York jazz musicians of The Geoff Countryman Quartet. The group is led by sax player Geoff Countryman, who can be seen in Julie Taymor’s “Across the Universe,” and has performed regularly with The Saturday Night Live Band and with Chico Hamilton’s “Euphoria.” The Emily Turonis Trio features Hudson School alumna and talented singer Emily Turonis, whose soulful voice is quickly gaining her a devoted following, particularly as a regular performer at The Hoboken Arts and Music Festival. Finally, The Hudson School Choir, which has recently won state-wide accolades for its angelic harmonies and musical wit, will perform its rendition of “Jump, Jive and Wail,” a piece that inevitably brings the audience to its feet, joining in the revelries.
The night will also feature a special performance by The Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble of “A Short Lecture and Demonstration on the Evolution of Ragtime,” a tongue-in-cheek demonstration of the development of early jazz dance, using Jelly Roll Morton’s own words and music. Sarah Kaufman of The New York Post says, “Ragtime shows Sokolow’s cutting sense of humor – it’s a laugh-out-loud send-up of two artists demonstrating dance steps to Jelly Roll Morton’s thumping piano score with bombastic seriousness.”
Adding to the excitement, award winning actor Andre Braugher has offered to act as narrator for the piece.
Additionally, top dancers will perform as well as provide dance instruction. Tracy Everitt, a Broadway dancer who worked with and taught Liza Minelli, will demonstrate how to do the Charleston, and dancers Jim Geyer and Pat Bases will lead a lesson in the Lindy Hop.
Prizes will be auctioned
The evening will have two auctions, one live and one silent, during which diners can win tickets to Broadway plays and pro sports games as well as weekly stays at summer and winter vacation homes. The auctioneer will be Eugene Flinn, owner of Amanda’s and the Elysian Cafe, two of Hoboken’s most popular restaurants.
All the money raised during the Soirée benefits the Hudson School’s Scholarship Fund – a fund that since the inception of the school in 1978 has allowed hundreds of low-income students to attend and graduate from the school. Many of these graduates have gone on to attend top universities, with this years’ graduating class alone receiving over one million dollars in merit scholarships to go towards their college tuition.
“The Spring Soirée could not be a worthier cause, in that it allows the school to fairly admit students based on their intellects and accomplishments – not on their parent’s ability to pay,” says Suellen Newman, founder and principal of the school. “Our school loves music, all genres, and so it’s only apt that the Soiree’s theme is jazz – one of America’s greatest musical contributions to the world.”
The Spring Soirée is made possible through the donations of many local sponsors that include Amber Road, Drum Den, Guitar Bar, Hudson Tavern, Kelly Photo Boutique, Revival Vintage Boutique, Riverside Pediatric Group and SILVERMAN Building Neighborhoods.
The event is open to the public and is an occasion for the Hudson School community to come together, as well as to bring folks together, for a night of festivity that will create opportunities for others. For more information and to purchase tickets or make a donation, go to the event webpage, the 2012 Spring Soiree at http://www.thehudsonschool.org or call (201)659-8355.