Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Silver Spring Jazz Festival back for fifth year

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The Silver Spring Jazz Festival will return to the downtown in September for its fifth year, but in a new location and with some help from music promoter Live Nation to book the headliner: The Mingus Big Band.

This year's festival, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 13, will be held in the parking lot behind the Lee Building at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring.

"We needed a site that's a big open space and were desperate to have something right downtown," said Susan Hoffmann, marketing and special events manager with the Silver Spring Regional Center.

Last year's event was held at the artificial turf field at the corner of Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive, the site for a new civic center, which will be under construction this fall.

This year's headlining act is The Mingus Big Band, a Grammy-nominated, 14-piece ensemble. Last year's headliner was Latin trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.

Los Angeles-based Live Nation, which plans to open The Fillmore music hall on Colesville Road in 2010, contacted The Mingus Big Band to play this year's festival. Hoffmann said the assistance could provide the basis for a strong partnership between the county and the promoter in the future.

"I'd like to partner with Live Nation when the Fillmore opens," said Hoffmann, who has produced the Jazz Festival for the past five years.

Other performers include Marcus Johnson, a former graduate of Montgomery Blair High School who runs the Three Keys record label and recording studio at 8121 Georgia Ave. and has performed at each jazz festival in Silver Spring. Also performing will be Israeli-born saxophone player Yaron Elyashiv as part of the Yaron Elyashiv Quintet, Silver Spring vocalist Gail Shipp and the Samambaya Quintet.

There also will be a New Orleans-style parade of youth jazz musicians called the Jazz Ensemble Caravan, which will kick off the event at 2 p.m. Three youth jazz ensembles will compete for the Silver Spring Jazz Festival Trophy, awarded annually to the best performance. Ensembles competing this year include James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, The Jazz Academy of Music in Silver Spring and defending champion Albert Einstein High School in Kensington.

Hoffmann said she expects a crowd of about 25,000.

Library to host

design meetings

The Silver Spring Library is hosting a series of public meetings to discuss the design of the new library. The first will be held 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Round House Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Road. It will be followed that day by a special meeting for teenagers to tell officials their preferences for the new library 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the library, 8901 Colesville Road. Pizza will be served at 12:30 p.m. before the teen discussion.

"These are meetings for the Silver Spring community to say now what they would like to have in the new library - what kind of place they want it to be," said Gail Gormley, head of adult services.

People who can't attend the meetings can still e-mail their preferences to

The meetings are sponsored by Montgomery County Public Libraries, the Silver Spring Regional Center and the Montgomery County Department of General Services.

Get advice on avoiding foreclosure

A class meant to teach homeowners how to avoid foreclosure will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Azalea room of the Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave. Linda Walker, housing manager for Takoma Park, said counselors from the nonprofit group Home Free USA will provide individual counseling.

"The purpose is to try to tell folks that there may be some help for them and this is something they should attend if they're in this situation," she said. "What we have found is a lot of folks in foreclosure don't even contact the lender to see if some compromise can be reached."

Spanish speakers will also be available for the class, which Walker hopes will have 30 to 40 people. Refreshments will also be provided.

Attendees should bring their loan papers for counselors if possible. To reserve a seat, contact Walker at 301-891-7222 or