We're heading into a slow time of year, but there are a few important cultural happenings that we should talk about.
As part of its outreach and education component, the Savannah Music Festival has established a free service for young jazz musicians.
Called Swing Central and named and inspired in part by the popular Music Festival concert series/competition of the same name, it involves a video library of lessons from a striking array of world-class jazz musicians, such as Jason Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup, Marcus Roberts, and many more.
While the first year of the program's existence was funded by a key grant source, that funding has since dried up. The Music Festival, which makes no profit off the free Swing Central instructional series, is asking people to support the website by making a contribution of $5 or more at Kickstarter, the website which enables grassroots funding efforts.
There is a catch: The Swing Central project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by midnight on Tuesday, June 28.
To make a contribution, go to kickstarter.com and type "Swing Central" into the search field.
This week the Telfair Museums kicks off its annual Juneteenth observance with several events, including a storytelling performance by Mitch Capel titled Colored Soldiers. All Juneteenth events are free and open to the public.
In other news, the Savannah Philharmonic just announced its upcoming 2011-2012 series. As our Bill DeYoung remarks in Mark Your Calendar in this issue, the season opens Sept. 11 - of course the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks - with a patriotic "American Spirit" concert.
The Philharmonic continues its tradition of performing in the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist with an October Brahms choral concert and a December Holiday Pops show.
Lucas dates include a Tchaikovsky/Beethoven double bill in November, a February violin showcase, an operatic evening in April, and the season finale nearly a year from now, featuring Schubert and Bruckner.
Check out the details at savannahphilharmonic.org.
I'm particularly happy to announce that this issue contains the second edition of our new biweekly bicycling issues column from John Bennett, vice chairman of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign.
Bennett is a particularly impassioned and articulate spokesman for bicyclists and those who love them. I hope you enjoy the column as much as I do.
And though I'd dearly love to claim credit for the awesome running name for the column - "The News Cycle" - that one was all John.
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"And you deserve better."
Thanks, Jim, for my new campaign slogan.