The pulsing swing of jazz could be heard for blocks as a bustling Jay Street hosted the opening performance in the 19th annual Jazz on Jay series Thursday.
The first of many performances by local jazz musicians every Thursday at noon featured Colleen Pratt & Friends.
Jay Street restaurants and storefronts opened their doors with Jazz on Jay specials, and the street was filled with a steady flow of patrons and passers-by, brought in by the music. The ambiance Jazz on Jay was created to achieve — a feeling of excitement, safety, and community in the downtown area — was strong Thursday, with workers on their lunch breaks, patrons from the Eddy PACE Senior Care Program and residents coming together to hear local talent.
The program was started 19 years ago by the Electric City Arts District as an opportunity to show off the city and its beauty, according to Karen Johnson, a member of Electric City, vice chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature and a resident of the Stockade. For Johnson, the initiative was always about bringing community back to the area she called home, as well as showing off the extensive musical talent in the area.
“There are very successful music programs at SCCC and our other local colleges, as well as a great appreciation for jazz music in our area,” she said. “We wanted to share that with the community and bring back appreciation for the area.”
Jazz on Jay is now a collaborative effort among Electric City, Proctors, the Schenectady Heritage Area and Jay Street shops and restaurants. Proctors provides chairs and the tent for performers, while shops provide power and street space.