Updated: Sep 12
A Partnership with Jazz Pensacola and the Escambia County Medical Society Foundation - Steve Douglas
The whole idea of a partnership of Jazz Pensacola and the local hospital systems was originally percolated in Phoenix/Scottsdale while I was a board member of Jazz in AZ, the Phoenix based jazz society. Conversations with our executive director, Joel Robin Goldenthal and management at the Mayo Clinic led to a lobby experiment of regular afternoon jazz concerts. The Phoenix Mayo Clinic has an awesome atrium styled entrance/lobby that sparkles with so much light it was a natural venue for some music.
Joel, a fine piano player and his wife, Delphine, a wonderful singer plus myself were part of that experiment years ago. The mini concerts were monthly mid-week in the afternoon to rousing acceptance and applause. We played mostly from the American Songbook plus some more recent tunes that resonated with our new-found audience. The concert program was so successful it was expanded to the Scottsdale Mayo with similar results.
When I relocated to Pensacola from AZ, I became a member of Jazz Pensacola and kept this idea on the back burner until we made it through the pandemic and its lasting wake. Now, as a board member, I suggested to Dr. Michelle Brandhorst, one of our staunchest supporters, that I had done this kind of concert program in hospitals with great success. Not only did people discover the organization behind it, but we gained added support, new members and certainly a positive impact on the community. Music seemed to be a soothing respite from the stress on the doctors, staff, patients and their family and friends visiting.
So, Dr. Brandhorst approached the board of the Escambia County Medical Society Foundation and pitched the idea. Enthusiastically, they agreed to fund such a unique concert program and executive director Laura Griffin contacted the 3 hospitals here to get them on board which she did. So, Baptist, HCA Florida West and Ascension/Sacred Heart are now on a rotating basis of monthly concerts.
We’ll begin with a kickoff concert September 23rd at the new Baptist facility 4:30-6:30 and then start in October with concerts the first Wednesday of the month from 2:00-4:00. The music will be provided by pianist/vocalist Mary Chavez and myself on upright bass. What a wonderful way to bring some music into the hospital space, expose jazz and Jazz Pensacola to a new audience. The concerts are completely funded by the ECMS Foundation and perhaps eligible for some grants later on. Mary and I are excited to bring this to the community. We will post the schedule of concert locations once we have confirmation on dates from the hospitals. We hope to see you at one of our “Concerts in the Lobby”.