Allentown JazzFest launches its 2016 Season at The Hess Mansion

by Bryan Tuk

On August 29th, Performing Arts Live! launched the 2016 season of Allentown JazzFest at one of Allentown’s most historic properties, The Hess Mansion. With over 200 people in attendance, guests had an opportunity to mingle with leaders from the Lehigh Valley’s arts and business communities, sample cuisine and drinks from some of Allentown’s finest establishments, and hear great music spanning the entire 2015 JazzFest artist roster plus live performances by some of the region’s best musicians.

Only seven months after its first public announcement, Performing Arts Live! has taken the Allentown JazzFest from a startup arts organization to what will be the second largest music festival in the Lehigh Valley during its 2016 season.

Several corporate sponsors banded together to help make the 2016 launch event a success: Hook Seafood & Grille, County Seat Spirits, HiJinx Brewing Company, QNB Bank, The Valley Ledger and the Tuk Law Offices.

In addition, many businesses from the region donated items and services to the Silent Auction: The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Northampton Coin & Jewelry Exchange, Crust Pizza, G&E Smoke Shop, Allentown Brew Works, Taking Care of Business, Arbonne, Younique, Sleeptastic Solutions, Flowing Lines Landscape, Norwex CleanerGreener Product Co., and Forward Thinking Fitness.

All of these businesses – the corporate sponsors plus our silent auction donors – have been instrumental in supporting the Allentown JazzFest, which is rapidly turning into one of the driving forces of Allentown’s renaissance.

Also, many thanks to Ray Bridgeman, David Olson, and Barte Shadlow who offered Network Magazine’s assistance by supplying guest bartenders for the Hamptons @ The Hess event.

At the Hess Mansion we unveiled two new central components of the 2016 Season: The Center Stage Series and the 2016 AJF High School Summit. First, the Center Stage Series will bring the region’s best jazz, blues and soul performers to venues all around Allentown. These free concerts will take place every first Thursday of the month starting in October and continue through April 2016, leading into the beginning of the 2016 festival. No tickets are required, but for event times and location, please visit our website at

Finally, we are extremely pleased to launch a major educational component to the AJF: the AJF High School Summit, which will occur on the first day of the 2016 festival. Up to eight high school jazz programs will be invited to Allentown on April 29, 2016 to spend the day with nationally-renowned trumpeter, Al Chez. Mr. Chez was, for 28 years, the lead trumpeter in the World’s Most Dangerous Band/CBS Orchestra with Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman. Both Mr. Chez and members of his band, The Brothers of Funk, will work with the students in small group masterclasses, and the day will culminate in a performance which will be open to the public.

Details on all the facets of the Allentown JazzFest’s 2016 season can be found at or by following the AJF on FaceBook.

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