Spreading Joy with Jazz
By Anne Wilde
Jazz at the Ballroom (JATB) is committed to keeping swinging, classic jazz thriving, sharing this extraordinary American art form with the greater public, and providing audiences with remarkable experiences.
Executive Director Suzanne Waldowski Roche, who grew up in a family of jazz enthusiasts, established the non-profit organization in 2016 after moving from New York into famed movie star Bing Crosby’s former grand country manor in northern California.
An ardent patron of the arts, she brought new life to the estate’s grand ballroom by hosting some of the world’s most talented jazz musicians in an intimate, unique setting – from the legendary Freddy Cole to famous GRAMMY® winning trumpeter Chris Botti and The Hot Sardines.
Soon after, the shows grew in popularity through word of mouth, but as the space could only accommodate approximately 100 people, shows outside the ballroom were added, provided that the alternative venues were special, had some historical value, and added to the uniqueness of the concert experience.
That’s why the Lobero is the perfect location for this type of production – a place where multigenerational audiences can feel as if they are taking part in something timeless, one-of-a-kind, and memorable.
Focusing on the Great American Songbook and the ageless elegance the music embraces, Jazz at the Ballroom’s mission is to create an environment where every guest feels at home and each artist can share their stories, passion, and talent.
The first performance that JATB presented at the Lobero was Accentuate the Positive, in mid-September 2022, which took inspiration from Bing Crosby’s 1944 hit song of the same name.
The show celebrates the music that was the unofficial catalogue of tunes which kept Americans company through the highs and lows of the 1920s–1940s.
On Friday, December 2, Jazz at the Ballroom presents Holiday “In” – a hip twist on classic holiday tunes, hosted by comedian Dan Cronin, with bandleader Konrad Paszkduzki on piano.
Award-winning musicians from across the country take turns on stage for a show reminiscent of the old Christmas specials with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and other singing greats. The evening is a tip-of-the hat to Crosby’s classic film, Holiday Inn, and the past two years — when there was no place BUT home for the holidays.
Beyond their ballroom concerts, Jazz at the Ballroom also works to introduce, teach, and explore this incredible art form through their workshops, special events, and public concerts – keeping unforgettable jazz standards alive in our community and fostering a love of music in future generations.
We hope you enjoy a peek into the Lobero archives.
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